Home | News    Tuesday 25 March 2014

South Sudan drops preconditions ahead of talks with rebels


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

March 24, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The South Sudanese government has dropped its demand that a grouping of seven politicians who were arrested at the start of the current conflict be barred from participating in peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

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The South Sudan government’s chief negotiator, Nhial Deng Nhial, speaks during the resumption of peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 11 February 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

On Thursday – one day before the scheduled resumption of the next round of talks – South Sudan’s ruling SPLM demanded that the East African regional bloc IGAD, who are mediating the talks, limit negotiations to the two warring factions: the SPLM and the South Sudanese army (SPLA); and the rebels – known as the SPLM/A in Opposition, which was formed in December from army defectors and disaffected politicians.

The government accuses former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar of attempting to oust president Salva Kiir in a coup, although the allegations have been repeatedly denied by all the accused.

The government had threatened to boycott the talks over the participation of the seven senior political figures who after their release decided to form a third bloc rather than join Machar, despite having similar political grievances. However, it has since backed down after IGAD - the Intergovernmental Authority on Development - rejected its demands.

The trial of four senior SPLM officials still on detention has begun in Juba. They have been charged with treason and plotting to overthrow the government.

The group of seven, who are joined by Rebecca Nyandeng, the widow of SPLM founder and the party’s former chairman John Garang, will now be allowed to participate as a third bloc as they did in the previous round of talks, which produced a tenuous ceasefire deal.

Attempts to involve South Sudanese civil society in the talks have not been welcomed by either side despite analysts warning that a successful deal will need to reflect more than just the military realities in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile – the states where most of the fighting has taken place.

No official timetable has been set for the resumption of negotiations, but they are expected resume before the end of the week.

Sudan Tribune understands that the South Sudanese government’s negotiating team arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Sunday without Juba’s chief negotiator, former foreign minister Nihal Deng Nihal, who was expected to arrive on Monday evening.

The seven SPLM leaders who were jailed in connection to the alleged coup attempt on 15 December last year were released under the initial peace pact signed in Addis Ababa on 23 January.

The ceasefire deal has failed to halt fighting on the ground, with both sides accusing each other of violating the terms of the agreement.

UN officials have warned that if the planting season is missed, due to the insecurity and displacement before the rainy seasons begin, South Sudan could experience famine levels of malnutrition.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has said Ethiopia may host up to 150,000 South Sudanese refugees, although the Ethiopian Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA) says that that figure could increase to as many as 300,000 due to the high levels of food insecurity in South Sudan.

An estimated 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict. The split in South Sudan’s ruling party and army has reopened old wounds from the more than two-decades-long civil war that lead to the 2005 peace agreement which resulted in South Sudan’s secession from Sudan in 2011.


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  • 25 March 2014 05:41, by Mi diit

    They were threatened and told to either accept the independent g-7 or else face sanctions. They have succumbed to the threat. Ahahahahaaa...........

    repondre message

    • 25 March 2014 11:30, by Johndumo14

      These 3 towns or counties,Nasir,Akobo and pibor, must be brought under control of gov.troops before the rainy season begins,so that children can go to school.
      Nasir has becomes the capital city of Dr Riek Machar`s rebels.Nasir has become a threat to not only malakal,but to
      oil fields.Sudan and Eretrea are are using Nasir airport to supply the rebels of Riek Machar with Guns,food and Amunitions.

      repondre message

    • 25 March 2014 16:32, by Johndumo14

      The western+UN are playing a dirty game in South sudan ,they want salva kiir out so they can put Dr Riek Machar as preident of South sudan so they can come and easily steal the oil,gold and many good Things,because Dr Riek is singing a beautiful song called Democracy.

      repondre message

    • 25 March 2014 16:47, by Bungachier 50

      The government of South Sudan is a shaky and disabled government. This reminds me of Panthou’s Incident in which the president ordered our troops to leave the ground and were attacked from behind and smashed properly by the SAFs. God!if you had created South Sudan for a reason, please, mean it.

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    • 25 March 2014 19:23, by Johndumo14

      Thousnads of people have died and Towns villages and properties distroyed bebause of the actions of this only one man Dr Riek Machar. The SPLA will get him no matter how long it will take.Even if he run into Ethiopia,Kenya or any others countries in Africa.Dr Riek Machar and his wife are in Kenya now their days are numbered.

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  • 25 March 2014 06:00, by Developer

    Thanks for the western leaders. what I can see now is the pressure of imposing sanction on Kiir and his officials is working.Kiir must stop acting as children are playing a game. Good for you Dr. Riak Macher’s team, stick with you two preconditions. releasing the four political detainees and withdrawing idiots M7 out of South Sudan must be fulfilled by this time.

    repondre message

  • 25 March 2014 06:13, by Akol Liai Mager

    Actually, the Seven (7) + Ustaz Pagan Amum and Civil Society are the ones that can save South Sudan from this mess and human suffering. Also, Amum Group is the only valve or life-line for SPLM otherwise, SPLM will just disappear with certain individuals.

    repondre message

  • 25 March 2014 06:56, by George Bol

    Good G7 was allowed by Government of South Sudan. Let just wait two month and you will hear that Riek Machar is captured a live or dead or fled the South

    repondre message

    • 25 March 2014 07:07, by Paul Chadrack

      the bhar el ghazel don’t listen but they see things when they reach their anus. look how they are blocking humanitarian food to the IDPs in greater upper nile, because the war didn’t reach their areas.they’re not for the interest of this country but their own, south sudan will be ok when bhar el ghazels are out of power and the international community must work for it,otherwise peace will come.

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      • 25 March 2014 07:44, by George Bol

        Stop crying, you have started the conflict. Next time, you need not to step on Jieng tail because they are dangerous especially when they called it peny amok

        repondre message

  • 25 March 2014 09:27, by Jubawe

    People don’t worry soon will be no more precondition when Equatorian joint this war against Kirr and his corrupt government, we already had enough, Kirr destroy our state and doesn’t have plan for development to the whole state paying Uganda our public money, shame, Soon will be no more war, we’re preparing, Kirr will have option Run or step down, no more Hiding in Luri

    repondre message

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