JUBA – South Sudan government has suspended the peace talks with opposition groups in Italy, saying that the holdout rebels are not serious and are using the initiative to buy time in order to prepare for a deadly conflict.
The opposition groups are united under the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) and includes General Thomas Cirilo Swaka, General Pagan Amum, General Paul Malong, as well as others such as Emmanuel Ajawin.
“This letter informs the Community of Sant’Egidio that the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity has suspended its participation in the Rome Peace talks till further notice. This decision was not arrived at lightly,” Kiir’s office said in a letter addressed to the mediation.
“While we have been preparing to engage in serious dialogue with Non-Signatory South Sudan Opposition Group to bring lasting peace to our country, it has come to our attention that this Group is using these talks to buy time as they prepare for war,” the it added.
The letter signed by minister of presidential affairs and chair of government delegation at the talks said the government has always been committed to the initiative in hope to bring permanent peace to the country and not to cause another conflict.
“All along, we have considered the Rome Initiative as a facilitative avenue for peaceful resolution of the conflict in South Sudan, and not as another repertoire in tactical consideration in the pursuit of military objectives over peaceful means,” it said.
“This view of Rome Initiative on our part includes strong commitment to engage in these talks honestly with the goal of reducing harm to our people and fostering the environment that will lead to the achievement of inclusive peace,” it added.
It added that “Since this new development that used the Rome Initiative as a cover in preparation for war is diametrically opposed to our view on the same, the Government took the decision to suspend the talks with Non-Signatory until further notice to prevent the mockery of this noble process.”
“Let me be clear, the Government is firm on its unequivocal commitment to Rome Process, and it is within this guarantee that I am inviting you to come to Juba, subject to your availability to further discuss in person the concerns mentioned above.”