JUBA – South Sudan’s holdout opposition alliance faction, SSOMA, led by General Paul Malong Awan Anei and Pagan Amum Okiech has said that it cannot confirmed rumors that the Kenyan government is involved in actions that are deemed as anti-peace tactics means to delaying and paralyze the peace process between the government in Juba and the holdout opposition alliance pointed to the East African country’s readiness to hold talks in its territory.
This comes after reports suggested that the Kenyan government had turned down a request from St. Egidio community of Rome asking Nairobi to provide venue for negotiations between the government and the Malong-Pagan-led opposition consortium to intentionally delay the process.
Late last year, talks between the SSOMA faction and the government were transferred to Nairobi, but were later on returned to Rome after the Kenyan government failed to respond to the St. Egidio’s request sparking speculations that a rumored meeting between members of a South Sudan security team and their Kenyan counterpart ended with agreement that Kenya refuse offering its soil as venue for the talk, and delay the peace talk in the process.
Contacted by Sudans Post on why the talks initially set for Nairobi have been returned to Rome or if the Kenyan government is involved in any anti-peace tactics, South Sudan United Front/Army’s spokeswoman Nyamach Nyang Chuol said she cannot confirm the rumor because the neighboring country is still welcoming talks in its land.
“I cannot confirm that rumour without proof, delay tactics are only caused by peace spoilers. The Kenyan Government did not approve the request in time [but] they are still welcoming the talks in Kenya for the month of March but the final call is with the community of sant Egidio,” she said.
The senior opposition official further said they are still awaiting a new date as they were informed by the St. Egidio community that several members of the government negotiating team have contracted coronavirus, stressing that the world in in a pandemic that everything is possible.
“Yes we were due to travel to Rome on the 31st January and the talks were to be held in Rome on the 2nd to the 5th of February but unfortunately on that Saturday night the 30th of January while we prepared for departure the next day, we were informed that majority of the Government delegates were tested COVID-19 positive,” she said.
“We are in the middle of a global pandemic, therefore such things are possible. We wish the Juba delegates a speedy recovery and a date to resume the talks will be communicated by the community of Sant Egidio,” she added.