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PEACE DEAL: Gov’t, SSOMA sign declaration of commitment

By William Madouk


South Sudan government and members of South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) have signed a declaration of commitment.

This is a framework of inclusivity to address differences and bolster the peace process.

The announcement came after nearly a week of pre-consultation between parties to the Nairobi talks.

Signing of the declaration of commitment, pave away for parties to nominate representatives to study the paper which will constitute the agenda for the real negotiation.

Speaking during a joint statement, the leader of Real SPLM Group, Pagan Amum, said the declaration of commitment is dedicated to the fallen heroes and heroines and the entire people of South Sudan who are in anguish.

“Today, we are here to declare our commitment to initiate an inclusive peace process that addresses the root causes of the conflict and fosters a truly inclusive environment where all voices of our people are heard and respected,” he said.

Amum added that the Nairobi peace process will be an ‘inclusive’ dialogue and that is by extending olive branches to all holdout groups, who are non-signatory to the 2018 peace deal.

He mentioned that the leaders and stakeholders have agreed to concentrate on solving the country’s problems, treating the problem as the enemy and ceasing to see each other as enemies.

“We will be working united and in collaboration with the government delegation here to rescue our people and to work for bringing a better future for South Sudan,” he noted.

“A South Sudan that is free, just and prosperous for all its citizens without discrimination, that is our commitment,” Amum continued.

Head of government high-level delegation, Amb. Albino Mathem recalled how the country was flung into unnecessary civil war, citing that no one escaped free from the blame, be it the opposition or government.

“The problem of South Sudan starts within the SPLM – Let us start to admit that, and nobody can run away from it,” he stated.

With raging conflict in neighboring Sudan, DR Congo, and Somalia, he said President Salva Kiir had to ask his counterpart William Ruto to bring the ‘formidable’ solution to South Sudan.

“We do believe if we succeed from here, we are going to work hand in hand to bring the comprehensive peace which will bring the lasting peace for the people of South Sudan,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s chief mediator of the conflict in South Sudan, Gen Lazarus Sumbeiywo said it is the delegates who hold the greatest responsibility to lead in finding a permanent solution for their country.

“This can only be if you negotiate in good faith and a sustained and continuous manner… and today is just one step toward that direction,” he added.

“I want to assure the parties that the word ‘if’ will not be an operational word, it is ‘when’ and we want to know ‘when’ but not the word ‘if’ because it is not believed its ongoing to happen – it is going to happen,” he said.

Besides, the minister of Information, Micheal Makuei, who is also Rapporteur said the next would-be identification of the agenda for outstanding matters and negotiation commence.

“The next step forward is that now we need to go to the ground and had a serious negotiation,” he said.

“We need to come up with the agenda, we need to identify the issues which we need to discuss and after that, we sit down and negotiate so that we can come up with amicable solutions for those outstanding issues,” Makuei noted.

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

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

Meanwhile, the NAS under 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.

What is agreed on

Both parties group denounced violence as a means of resolving the differences and call upon all citizens to engage in constructive dialogue that pave way for peaceful resolution of any grievance.

They also agree, to open civic and political spaces, and to allow citizens to participate in peaceful political processes and to respect, protect and guarantee the freedom of expression, assembly and association.

“To set aside our individual differences and to compromise our political differences for the sake of the nation, and through open and honest discussions, we will identify and implement practical solutions to the multiple challenges facing South Sudan.”

“To call on parties who have not yet joined the High-Level Mediation to participate and play an active role in this process.”

“To Commit or Recommit to the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access (COHA) of 2017 in Addis, and to work towards a permanent ceasefire, creating a conducive environment for dialogue and humanitarian assistance.”

“To build the nation, to conduct a democratic transition, and to ensure sustainable peace through robust and innovative implementation mechanisms for the mutually agreed outcomes as per clear timelines,”

“Underscore the sovereignty of the People of South Sudan and their fundamental rights to participate in the affairs of their country, commit to promote an open civic and political space for public sensitization to foster ownership of the Tumaini Initiative.”

“To negotiate in good faith, in order to build confidence and trust”


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