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NAIROBI TALKS: Gov’t prepares response to SSOMA concerns

By Willliam Madouk


All eyes are currently focused on the transitional government as they work to address the concerns raised by holdout groups during their initial presentations, to pave way for ‘genuine’ peace talks in Nairobi, Kenya.

Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information and also a rapporteur, reported that all holdout groups have made their presentations following the opening of the high-level mediation for South Sudan.

“As of today (Friday), the Real SPLM led by Pagan Amum made a presentation on the issues in question, and that was on injustice, economic affairs, and governance,” Makuei told state-owned SSBC radio and TV.

He said a breakaway of Gen. Thomas Cirilo, the NAS Revolutionary Command Council of Col. Ladu Stephen Lukaja, and Stephen Buay Rolnyang of the South Sudan People’s Movement/Army (SSPM/A) also made their presentation.

Gen. Rolnyang, who owns a large armed force in neighbouring Sudan, committed himself to a peaceful resolution, Makuei noted.

“Their presentations were thereafter followed by comments from civil society, and the presentations today ended,” he continued.

However, Mr. Makuei explained that today [Monday], the government delegation would give a response to all concerns raised by the holdout groups in their presentation at the Nairobi talks.

“On Monday, the government delegation will be responding to the presentations made and putting forward the position of the government on all the issues that are in question,” he stated.

“Thereafter, on Tuesday or Wednesday, the mediators will come out with an agenda for the meetings, and after that, we officially start talks with outstanding issues,” Makuei lamented.

With a resoundingly resolute stance, Minister Makuei underscored the government’s effort to all-encompassing Nairobi talk for lasting peace in the country.

“In this process, we don’t want to leave anybody out because we need an inclusive agreement and an inclusive peace talk that will bring peace to the people of South Sudan,” he echoed.

“This is our main objective, and we are pressing hard so that parties and all persons join us in this process because this is the last opportunity for us as the people of South Sudan to come together and serve our people,” he continued.

On Thursday, President Salva Kiir travelled to Nairobi, Kenya, and inaugurated the Nairobi peace talks aimed at quelling the insurgence with the Non-Signatory South Sudan Opposition Group (NSSOG).

In his address, President Salva Kiir Mayardit recalled how Kenya brought an end to Africa’s longest war through the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in Naivasha, Kenya, asserting that the current Nairobi talks might yield the same results.

“I am confident that these efforts will yield a similar result as the country prepares for the general election this year,” said Kiir.

He stressed that the South Sudan transitional government has gone to negotiate in good faith and with an open mind.

President Kiir’s Kenyan counterpart, President William Ruto, lauded the government and holdout groups’ commitment to bringing lasting peace.

“This gathering marks a pivotal moment in a historic journey, uniting stakeholders committed to ending conflict and political instability in South Sudan,” said Ruto.

“The language of brotherhood therein gives us hope that there is a chance for us to settle this once and for all,” he added.

He assured Kenya’s steadfast commitment to contributing to ending cycles of conflict and instability in South Sudan and achieving peace and prosperity for her people.

Meanwhile, the chief mediator in the conflict in South Sudan, Kenyan former army commander Gen. Lazarus Sumbeiywo, said they would engage parties to find out their stance and disagreements and fine-tune lasting peace.

The talks were shifted from Rome, Italy, in January to be under the mediation of the Kenyan government in Nairobi.

The holdout groups led by Paul Malong Awan and Pagan Amum accepted President Ruto’s mediation.

Meanwhile, the National Salvation Front (NAS) under Gen. Thomas Cirilo and the National Democratic Movement-Patriotic Front, allied to Emmanuel Ajwain, rejected the Nairobi initiative, citing that it was not safe and they weren’t consulted either.



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