S. Sudan’s gov’t meets with the SPLA-IO breakaway group to set out a strategy for official negotiations.
A team from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), a breakaway group of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, met with officials from the South Sudanese government in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, on Saturday.
General Simon Gatwech Dual, the rebel delegation’s leader, was joined by General Johnson Olony, the vice-chairman. Under the aegis of the Sudanese government, the conference took place.
Some members of First Vice President Riek Machar’s SPLA-IO claimed in early August that he had been ousted as the party’s and military forces’ commander.
Machar had “totally failed” to demonstrate leadership, according to a competing faction headed by Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, and had severely damaged the party’s position in the unity administration.
The September 2018 peace deal calls for the reunification of all civil war combatants; however, the process has been hampered by delays.
In early 2020, the parties jointly established a unity government to prepare the nation for elections.
However, critical elements of the peace agreement, including security arrangements, transitional justice, and institutional changes, are still behind schedule or stalled.
President Salva Kiir’s national security advisor, Tut Gatluak, said the first meeting with the SPLA-breakaway IO’s group would lay out a plan for official negotiations and compile a list of those who would take part.
“Our people are sick of violence; we want peace and stability in South Sudan,” he said.
We came to see you, to inform you that we are prepared to negotiate. So, prepare your delegation for the discussions, and Sudan has already been notified to serve as a mediator,” Tut added.
“Since Sudan is the IGAD chair, we’ll meet so you can submit your agenda to the mediator,” he said. We would also prepare ourselves for the discussions to bring peace to South Sudan.”
General Simon Gatwech, also in the report by Radio Tamazuj seen by NCMP, reaffirmed his commitment to peace and stability in South Sudan.
“I am a proponent of peace. This first meeting with the government delegation is a positive start. As a result, I have agreed to negotiate with the government, and my delegation is prepared to take part in the discussions,” he added.
Meanwhile, a Sudan government official, General Hassan Bilal Ahmed, encouraged both parties to prepare their delegations to start peace negotiations.
Hassan added, “A written stance would be excellent so that the mediators can address your concerns with the government in South Sudan so that people may move ahead.”