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South Sudan Govt, SSOMA resume peace talks in Rome

Thomas Cirilo hold pres conference with Sant Egidio officials in Rome on 20 Nov 2019 (S Egidio photo)
October 9, 2020 (JUBA) - The Sant Egidio mediated talks for peace in South Sudan resumed in Rome on Friday amid divisions in the opposition ranks and the IGAD’s refusal to open the revitalized peace pact.

The long-awaited peace process under the auspices of the Sant’Egidio took place as scheduled on Friday with the efforts of the religious community to facilitate a comprehensive peace in South Sudan.

The Rome-based community already brought the holdout-groups and the government to sign the Rome Declaration for peace in South Sudan and a cessation of hostilities agreement earlier this year.

The meeting took place after some recent frictions within the opposition alliance. The South Sudan United Front (SSUF) of Paul Malong has been suspended and the Real SPLM of Pagan Amum refused to sign the charter of South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) in solidarity with Malong

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, Deng Vanang UDRM/A’s Secretary-General and a member of SSOMA delegation said the meeting took place without Amum and Malong who are no longer part of the group.

However, the head of the government delegation Nhial Deng Nhial "made a deliberate mistake of acknowledging the presence of Pagan and Malong in the meeting Hall" said Vanang.

He added that Nhial did so s "to cover up the isolation of the duo and misinform the public on the realities taking place in Rome," in allusion to a report by the SSBC team that covered the opening session.

On the other hand, he said the IGAD Special Envoy Ismail Wais and RJMEC Interim Chairperson Charles Tai Gituai, in their speeches, rejected SSOMA’s call to open the revitalized peace pact for negotiations.

"IGAD special envoy, Ambassador Ismail Wais showed his true colour when he adamantly reiterated his usual stand not to re-open R-ARCISS, but to incorporate SSOMA into it instead".

He further said that Gituai also backed Wais position’s

They revealed "their hidden support for the government in selling peace that is non-existent in South Sudan," he stressed.

The meeting began late on Friday at 05:00 pm in the presence of the IGAD and Troika diplomats.

The talks are expected to resume on Saturday.

SSOMA leaders say that Amum and Malong can take part in the talks but they are not members of the opposition alliance.