JUBA – The Sudanese government has disowned the agreement signed on Sunday in Khartoum between the government of South Sudan and the breakaway SPLM/SPLA (IO) faction led by General Simon Gatwech Dual and General Johnson Olony Thabo, saying the initiative was the parties’ own and the government in Khartoum was not involved in anyway.
On Sunday, General Simon Gatwech, representing the SPLM-IO Kitgwang faction, and General Johnson Olony representing the Agwelek forces, signed a re-commitment to the implementation of the security arrangements providing for the integration of the opposition factions’ forces to the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).
The parties, especially the SPLM-IO Kitgwang faction led by Gatwech and Olony, have been saying that the peace talks with the government was an initiative of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which mediated the revitalized peace agreement in 2018.
For its part, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has criticized the agreement between Gatwech and Olony saying the agreement paves way for the SPLM-IO Kitgwang faction to join the SSPDF which the group says means a defection and not a split.
Early on January 9th, James Kalany Mamuon, the press secretary in the office of General Simon Gatwech Dual said the group’s leader had arrived to the Sudanese capital Khartoum “on the invitation of the IGAD (Sudan) to attend face to face meeting with the delegation of Government of South Sudan in Khartoum.”
“The SPLA-IO has been keenly monitoring the agreement and what was signed cannot be called the peace agreement. That is a clear indication of a way of paying Kit-Gwang for joining the SSPDF, which is a defection,” SPLA-IO spokesman and press secretary to the opposition-nominated minister of defense said, according to the City Review.
But in a statement on Thursday, the Sudanese embassy in Juba disowned the Kiir-Gatwech talk saying the government of Sudan is not involved in anyway other than allowing the parties to use Khartoum, the country’s capital, as venue for the talks and said the IGAD is not as well involved.
“The Embassy would like to clarify that the ongoing talks between the delegations of the Government of the Republic of South and the SPLM/A-IO (Magenis Faction) in Khartoum was not an IGAD led process as it was published in some news media. This talk was not initiated by IGAD, and there were no invitations sent from IGAD to any party to attend Khartoum talks between the parties mentioned above,” the Sudanese embassy said in the statement.
“The ongoing talk in Khartoum between the parties mentioned above was initiated by the parties themselves; and they have agreed to conduct their talks in Khartoum as a venue only,” the Sudanese embassy statement extended to Sudans Post and dated January 13, adds.
It said the Sudanese government “supports any effort that could help in the implementation process of the R-ARCSS, and any other efforts that aim to achieve peace in South Sudan. At the same time, the Government of Sudan doesn’t and will not support any direction of reopening the R-ARCSS or any part of it for any negotiations between the parties.”
“The Government of Sudan does not intend to open a new forum of peace talks, or to propose any suggestions or plans to the parties currently in Khartoum regarding their ongoing discussion, and Khartoum is only a venue for their discussions with the facilitation of representatives from the government,” the statement adds.
The statement further reiterated the Sudanese government’s “firm position regarding the peace process in the Republic of South Sudan; that we support the full implementation of the R-ARCSS in word and spirit, and all the parties to the Agreement have to commit to each and every part of it.”
“The Government of Sudan welcomes and supports all the efforts of the Regional and International partners to achieve peace in South Sudan through their support to the Revitalized Peace Agreement and through any other peace Initiatives like Rome Initiative for Peace in South Sudan.
“The Embassy of the Republic of Sudan avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the sisterly Republic of South Sudan (Sudan Affairs Department), and all Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations Accredited in the Republic of South Sudan the assurance of its highest consideration.”