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South Sudan gov’t, opposition alliance talks end in stalemate

October 12, 2020 (ROME) – Peace negotiations between South Sudan government and South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOMA) ended in Rome, Italy on Monday without signing of any agreement.

Talks between South Sudan government and opposition alliance took place in Rome, Italy from October 9-12, 2020 (courtesy photo)The talks, mediated by the Sant’Egidio community resumed in Rome on Friday last week, amid divisions in the opposition ranks and the regional bloc’s (IGAD) refusal to open the revitalized peace pact.

The meeting took place after recent frictions within SSOMA. South Sudan United Front (SSUF) led by Gen. Paul Malong was suspended and the Real SPLM headed by Pagan Amum refused to sign the charter of opposition movement alliance in solidarity with Malong.

In a statement issued extended to Sudan Tribune on Monday, the SSOMA delegation spokesperson, Deng Vanang said South Sudan government and SSOMA only agreed on and initialed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) during the meeting held in Rome.

“While its signing is different to 13th November, 2020 when the same parties reconvene and tie to DOP [Declaration Of Principles]-ten-point document for further discussion by the rival parties,” he stated.

According to Vanang, the two points objected to by government are the referendum, borders and boundaries as stood on 1/1/1956.

“Point-3 of the DOP - Declaration Of Principles and its Section C: talks of subjection of the draft constitution to referendum, which the government rejected, saying it should be the yet to be reconstituted Revitalized National Assembly to handle the matter without referring it to the plebiscite,” said the SSOMA delegation spokesperson.

He added, “By insisting on a transitional national parliament, the government knows it has the majority of MPs and money to compromise some opposition MPs to circumvent the popular will”.

Vanang said Point-8 is the government’s opposition to the mention that South Sudan’s borders and boundaries shall be as of 1/1/1956.

“By rejecting this proposal, the government still has the unethical mission of either re-instating its defunct 32 states or conquering more communal lands from politically incorrect ethnic groups and handing them over to more favored ones,” he further noted.

Separately, Kwaje Lasu, a member of SSOMA said the peace talks focused on recommitment of SSOMA and R-TGoNU to CoHA, participation in the ceasefire monitoring body (CTSMVM), and negotiation on Declaration of Principles to guide upcoming talks to address the root causes of the conflict in world’s youngest nation.

He revealed that the composition of SSOMA team to the peace talks are leaders and delegates of NAS, NDM-PF, SSNMC, and UDRM/A.

“After extensive four (4) days of cordial and productive discussion and deliberations, the parties agreed on recommitment to CoHA and participation in CTSAMVM as well as the Framework for the Declaration of Principles. The parties initialed the CoHA Recommitment document and the agreed points of the proposed Declaration Principles pending the discussion of the remaining points in the next round of talks that will take place on the 30th November 2020,” said Kwaje.

He lauded the Sant’Egidio community for hosting the talks and assured supporters and people of South Sudan that SSOMA is committed to the Rome Peace Process under the auspices of the Sant’Egidio to achieve just and sustainable peace in South Sudan.

Founded in 1968, the Community of Sant’Egidio is a lay Catholic association dedicated to social service provision