NAS writes Ruto, expresses concerns over change in venue for peace talks
The National Salvation Front (NAS), in collaboration with fellow members of the Non-Signatory South Sudan Opposition Groups (NSSOG), has formally responded to President Ruto of Kenya, expressing concerns regarding the sudden and surprising change in the venue and mediation strategy for the peace talks.
On Christmas Eve 2023, the R-TGoNU Minister for Presidential Affairs, Hon. Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro, announced that President Salva Kiir had requested Kenyan President Ruto to mediate and host talks between R-TGoNU and NSSOG in Kenya.
In their detailed letter, NSSOG conveyed their surprise at President Kiir’s unilateral decision to alter the negotiation venue without engaging in prior consultation. They clarified to President Ruto that their collective expectation is for Kiir’s R-TGONU to resume talks in Rome. The last face-to-face meeting between the two factions occurred in March 2023 and was interrupted when the R-TGoNU delegation requested the mediators to return to Juba for consultations, a move from which they never returned.
The letter also emphasized an essential point: there had never been any discord between the involved parties regarding the mediation process led by the Sant ‘Egidio Community and the choice of Rome as the venue. NSSOG underlined that both Sant ‘Egidio and Rome had proven to be conducive environments for open, honest, and credible discussions.
For this reason, the NSSOG, comprising NAS under the leadership of Thomas Cirillo, NDM-PF led by Emmanuel Ajawin, and SSNMC led by Kwaje Lasu, proposed that the anticipated pre-mediation meeting not only take place but remain situated in Rome, Italy which already provides the optimal setting for constructive and fruitful dialogue.
As the dynamics of the peace talks continue to evolve, NAS and its allies stand firm in their commitment to ensuring that the negotiation process remains grounded in transparency, credibility, and a genuine pursuit of sustainable peace for the people of South Sudan.