National, News

Malong accepts Ruto’s mediation

By William Madouk


South Sudan United Front Army (SSUF/A) leader, Gen. Paul Malong Awan has accepted Kenyan President William Ruto’s mediation role in the ‘Rome talks.”

Spokesperson for the South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A), Garang Malual, said in a statement that Malong expressed acceptance after Ruto wrote a letter informing him of Kenya’s intension to mediate the talks.

“Gen. Paul has indeed replied to the letter accepting Kenya’s mediating of the peace talks,” Malual added.

According to Malual, President Ruto in a letter showed Kenya government’s readiness to start mediation anytime from now.

He explained that the leaders of other members of holdout groups would also respond to Ruto on their parties’ behalf.

Ruto reportedly extended letters to the leaders of the Non-Signatory South Sudan Opposition Group (NSSOG) expressing his government’s readiness to mediate peace talks.

In December last year, President Salva Kiir asked Ruto to mediate the talks between no-signatory (hold out) groups and the government.

However, the National Salvation Front (NAS), under Gen. Thomas Cirilo, rejected the initiative, citing that Nairobi is not safe.

Pagan Amum, the leader of the Real SPLM and a member of the NSSOG holdout group coalition, also reportedly expressed reservation for the proposed Nairobi talks.

Non-signatories are groups that did not sign the 2018 revitalized peace agreement for the resolution of conflict in South Sudan.

The Community of Sant’Egidio in Rome initiated negotiations between the holdout groups and the government in 2020, aiming to resolve years of conflict in South Sudan.

During the initial negotiations, the parties signed a declaration of principles as a step towards achieving a political agreement.

However, despite these efforts, a conclusive political agreement has yet to be reached.

The discussions were meant to address the root causes of the conflict. Unfortunately, disagreements between the parties have persisted, preventing any significant progress from being made.

Initially, the parties were scheduled to reconvene for further discussions in May 2023, following a deadlock in March. but the parties never reported back for discussion until the office of the president revealed the shifting of the discussion.

The holdout groups include Real SPLM, led by Pagan Amum; the National Salvation Front (NAS) of Thomas Cirilo; the South Sudan United Front (SSUF/A), led by Paul Malong; and the National Democratic Movement-Patriotic Front (NDM-PF) of Emmanuel Ajawin.

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