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S. Sudan opposition movements demand dialogue with Kiir

October 2, 2019 (NAIROBI) – Members of the South Sudan Opposition Movements (SSOM) alliance have demanded dialogue with President Salva Kiir’s government, saying it is the only “genuine” and “meaningful” way of achieving lasting peace in the young nation.

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Thomas Cirillo Swaka (Photo Reuters)

The group, in a statement, expressed dismay at what it described as President Salva Kiir’s withdrawal of earlier calls for a peaceful resolution, through dialogue, with non-signatories to the peace deal.

“We, the South Sudan Opposition Movements alliance, believe that it is only through genuine, open, and meaningful dialogue, that durable and sustainable peace can be found in South Sudan,” partly reads the statement.

It added, “A peace that will be founded on the principles of truth, justice, accountability, forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation”.

Separately, the opposition movement alliance also criticized David Shearer, the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), after he attributed the surge in violence in the country to the activities of non-signatories to the September 2018 peace deal.

“We are saddened that the head of the UNMISS has now largely apportioned the still-ongoing “political violence” taking place within South Sudan, as being accountable to the non-signatories of the R-ARCSS,” the group noted.

The alliance said although they were not a party to the peace deal, their forces have not been engaged or instigated military offensives.

“In essence, labelling we, the non-signatories to the R-ARCSS, as "peace spoilers"; and as the culprits of the continued political and military unrest in our country. This is incorrect,” it stressed.

The South Sudanese opposition movements stated that as a co-signatory to the December 2017 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA), they will respectfully abide by and uphold the CoHA.

Meanwhile, the group called upon the international community, and the old friends of the downtrodden people of South Sudan to exert maximum pressure on President Kiir and his transitional government in Juba so that he “exercises responsible and genuine political will towards searching for durable and sustainable peace in South Sudan".

South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 when Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup.

In September 2018, the rival factions involved in the conflict signed a peace deal to end the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 2 million people in the country.

(ST)