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S. Sudan’s warring parties to resume talks next month

May 28, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s warring parties in the ongoing conflict will resume negotiations early next month, the spokesperson for the presidency said Thursday.

President Salva Kiir (L) and rebel leader Riek Machar (R) attend the signing a ceasefire agreement during an IGAD summit on the South Sudan crisis in Addis Ababa on 1 February 2015 (Photo: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

President Salva Kiir, Ateny Wek Ateny said, directed chief negotiator, Nhial Deng Nhial and two members of his delegation to travel to Ethiopia on 8 June for resumption of peace talks with representatives of the armed opposition faction.

“The decision was reached during a consultation visit by the Ethiopian and Kenyan foreign ministers who visited South Sudan on Wednesday during which two foreign top diplomats met and held a meeting with President Salva Kiir and some of the senior members of his administration,” he told reporters in the country’s capital, Juba.

The meeting, the presidential spokesperson said, discussed whether the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) could use the Arusha model during the upcoming negotiations to see if it’s the best approach to resolve the conflict since signatories to the Arusha agreement were also involved in the regional-led talks.

The president, Ateny said, expressed his government’s earlier push to have members of the Troika nations participate as observers in the peace talks, instead of playing active roles in the IGAD-led initiative.

“The president welcomes participation of the five African members in the mediation and appreciates the support of the Troika countries in the peace process, but expressed government’s desire for them to continue playing positives role as observers,” he added.

Observers, however, say South Sudan’s latest position on Troika nations may have been reinforced by resolutions made during the just concluded Great Lakes conference.

In March, the East African regional bloc proposed an IGAD-Plus structure that will bring in other African regions, including South Sudan development partners such as the African Union, the United Nations, China and the Troika, the key funders of the peace talks, which comprises of the United Kingdom, United States of America and Norway.

(ST)