Juba, National, News

Rome talks: Resumption depends on Sant’Egidio-Gov’t

By Bida Elly David

Rome peace talks at Sant’Egidio between the government of South Sudan and non-signatories to the Revitalized peace agreement is oblique as parties play blame games over delays to success.

Michael Makuei, the minister of information blames core parties to Sant’Egidio talks saying that government doesn’t have any mandate to host the agreement.

He said that being the mediator, Rome has the role to call them in case of the commencement of the agreement between them.

“It is not us who are allowing Rome negotiations to kick off, but it is Rome that organizes and calls us. Whenever we are called, we go there and when not called, also don’t go,” Makuei said.

He warned the core parties against blaming the government over delays of the document to partake the agreement noting that they should not use it a room of accusations.

“It is Rome to decide at their own time to call us. It is not us as the government of South Sudan to initiate the meeting since we are not the mediators,’’ he underscored.

Makuei told the media that blame games between parties have been common since both parties won’t admit failures.

“That is what they say and definitely whenever you are in conflict with anybody, you must say what suits you,’’ Michael reiterated.

The transitional government of national unity walked out of the talks twice when it accused NAS rebels of killing four people including two Catholic nuns along Juba-Nimule highway, but NAS denied.

The second boycott was last November when Presidential Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the South Sudan opposition group was buying time to prepare for war, a charge the group dismissed.

Holdout groups united under the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance have been in talks with the government in a bid to be included in the revitalized peace deal.

The Alliance includes NAS, run by General Thomas Cirilo Swaka, the South Sudan United Front led by General Paul Malong Awan, and the Real SPLM under the leadership of Pagan Amum.

During the Pope’s first official event in Juba, his meeting with Authorities, Civil Society and the Diplomatic Corps, President Salva Kiir reiterated an announcement made on the eve of the Holy Father’s ecumenical pilgrimage of peace to South Sudan.

“In honor of the Holy Father Pope Francis ‘historic visit to our country, and our declaration of 2023 as the year of Peace and Reconciliation, I am officially announcing the lifting of the suspension of the Rome Peace talks with the Holdout Groups.” Kiir said.

President Kiir expressed hope that “his brothers from the Non-Signatories South Sudan Opposition Group will reciprocate this gesture and engage with us honestly to achieve an inclusive peace in our country.

In November 2022, the government of South Sudan announced it was suspending its participation in the Rome peace talks, accusing non-Signatories of “lacking commitment” and preparing for war.

However, efforts by No.1.Citizen Daily Newspaper to contact the opposition parties for commentary were not successful.

Comments are closed.