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Gov’t resumes talks with holdout groups in Rome

Gov’t resumes talks with holdout groups in Rome
An on-going peace negotiation session in Rome on Tuesday | Credit | Courtesy

The government resumed the Rome Peace talks with the holdout groups on Tuesday in Rome, about five months after it boycotted it.

In November 2022, the Kiir administration suspended its participation in the Rome peace talks, saying the holdout groups were not serious about finding a solution.

In response, the holdout groups in its joint communique denied the allegation, noting that the accusation was baseless.

The group then called on the government to reconsider its decision and return to the peace initiative without excuses.

“I expressed commitment of the government to see that peace come to the people of South Sudan through our dialogue with non-signatories,” Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, head of government delegation, told the media in Rome.

“The commitment of the president, government and the people of South Sudan cannot be over emphasized.”

It is not clear what prompted the government to resume the talks. But President promised Pope Francis to restore peace in the country.

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

Negotiations between the groups and the government started in 2019, but have not been able to reach the middle ground or stop violence across the country despite the cessation of hostilities  agreement they signed in January 2020.