Juba regime, opposition alliance agree to address root causes of conflict
National Salvation Front (NAS) chairman and member of the leadership council of South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) Gen Thomas Cirillo has praised a declaration for re-commitment and adherence to a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of December 2017 by the government of South Sudan.
Presidential Advisor and Envoy – head of the government delegation Barnaba Marial Benjamin has signed the final communique of deliberations in Sant’Egidio, Rome, Italy on 12th January 2020; committing that all government forces in the combined South Sudan People’s Defense Army will not engage in any hostilities to “avoid any further armed confrontation across the country” “so as to create a conducive environment for dialogue”. This shall come into effect on 15th of January 2020 00:00 hours.
The regime in Juba under the control of president Sava Kiir has in principle agreed to take all necessary steps to make it possible for meaningful participation of all “non-signatories” to the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution on the Conflict in South Sudan.
SPLM-IO Deputy Chairman Henry Dilah Odwar signed the declaration as a key witness, especially considering continued aggression of a unified army of government forces and forces loyal to Dr Riek Machar.
Other signatories include Paul Malong Awan Anei (member of the leadership council of SSOMA and chairman of South Sudan United Front/Army), Pa’gan Amum Okiech (member of the leadership council of SSOMA and interim chairman of Real-SPLM), Emanuel Yoanes Yor Akol Ajawin (interim secretary-general of SSOMA and chairman of NDM-PF), David Tut Kuiy (member of SSOMA and member of UDRM/A) and Vakindi Unvu (member of SSOMA and chairman of SSNMC).
Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) attended the talks as an observer. To this effect, the declaration said it was “grateful to the tireless efforts conducted by the international community, with special regard to IGAD, AU, EU, UN and the Troika members as well as other international and regional partners, in particular China and Japan.” The meeting appealed to all development partners to continue their active engagement in this unique and crucial peace process.
Under the auspices of the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) last Sunday signed the Rome Declaration on the peace process in South Sudan in which they “reaffirmed [their] will to foster political dialogue in order to facilitate further reconciliation and stabilization by addressing the root causes of the conflict” in the country.
The declaration also includes guarantees for humanitarian organizations to be able to operate in the country in support of the civilian population.
This is the first time the Government of South Sudan and the SSOMA have officially met.
The Rome Declaration comes on the heels of the signing of The Hague Principles which brought the “non-signatories” to the R-ARCISS into a single political union.
The agreement, while providing renewed hope, is also another chapter in a history book of dishonoured agreements by the regime in Juba, especially those on cessation of hostilities and those on the protection of non-combatants as well as free movement of humanitarian aid.