February 23, 2014[RT] — Negotiations between South Sudan’s government and opposition stalled because of battles in the Malakal area, according to sources in Juba and Addis Ababa, though the government says it is still open to negotiations.
On Friday the parties suspended direct talks owing to the renewed fighting in Malakal, as they await a report by the mediation on the next steps in the midst of ongoing ceasefire violations.
Michael Makuei, spokesman of the government delegation, said the opposition representatives did not attend a meeting this week in the Ethiopian capital on the day of the resumption of fighting in Malakal.
On Saturday at a press conference in Juba, the Presidential Ateny Wek said that the government is still willing to negotiate.
“Although the talks have not resumed on face-to-face, it is clear that the government is still willing to negotiate peace with the rebels,” he said.
In spite of the ‘clear violation’ of the ceasefire, “the President of the Republic General Salva Kiir Mayardit as he wants to see peace in this country, instructed our negotiators to continue to negotiate peace in Addis Ababa,” according to Wek.
Yohanis Musa, a spokesman of the dissident SPLM/A faction led by Riek Machar, told Eye Radio in Ethiopia that the talks are not progressing because, he said, the government has not shown goodwill, has not released the remaining four detainees in Juba and has not implemented the cessation of hostilities agreement.
“The other party, the government in Juba, decided to violate the agreement from the day it was signed. As such, there is not any commitment to this agreement,” he said.
Musa added, “Every day our bases were being attacked and the source of these attacks is Malakal. And also every South Sudanese knows that the government still does not want to release the remaining four detainees and the violation of the agreement is more from the side of the government.”
“If there is goodwill from the other party, from our side, we are fully committed because we believe the solution to this conflict is not force. If they show goodwill, for sure, there will be success,” he said.