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Juba ready for peace agreement if rebels resume talks: minister

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July 1, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudanese information minister and spokesperson of the government negotiating team said they are ready to conclude a peace agreement within two weeks with the rebel SPLM in Opposition if they resume their participation in the peace process.

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South Sudanese information minister Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 5 January 2014 (Photo: AP/Elias Asmara)

Michael Makuei, who was speaking at a briefing to SPLM members in Juba on Tuesday, was alluding to the rebel group’s decision to boycott peace talks in protest against the lack of inclusivity of civil society groups.

The IGAD mediation team on 23 June decided to adjourn the talks after the boycott of the negotiations by the rebel delegation to protest selection process of the civil society groups by the mediation. The SPLM-in-opposition says independent civil society groups are excluded from the process.

In an interview with Sudan Tribune published Wednesday, the rebel leader Riek Machar also blamed the mediators for involving the civil society organisations in the direct talks, saying they have no conflict with the two parties. However he said they should play a consultative role.

Makuei underlined that the 60-day deadline set on 10 June by the IGAD leaders passes quickly, adding “we are ready to sign a peace agreement within 15 days”.

However, he said that the resumption of talks depends on the return of the rebel delegation to the negotiating table.

The minister further said that the government position was since January that they want direct talks with the rebels before to engage in an inclusive dialogue including political parties and civil society.

But “the rebels, the mediation, IGAD, and the international community exerted pressures on the government to accept the participation of the stakeholders in the negotiations,” he said adding now the rebels refuse the latter.

Makuei went to say that as result of rebel decision to boycott the talks, the mediators and the IGAD now have difficult choices to make including freezing the 9 May agreement signed by president Salva Kiir and former vice-president Riek Machar, or modifying some of the provisions related to the participation of stakeholders in the negotiations.

In a communiqué released on 10 June, IGAD said both South Sudanese leaders had committed themselves to the formation of a transitional government of national unity within 60 days and ensure unhindered humanitarian support to affected people with immediate effect.

In his interview, Machar stressed on the need to address the root cause of the conflict, restructuring the state and a programme for national reconciliation and accountability.

He added that no government can be formed before to reach an agreement dealing with these matters.

(ST)

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  • 2 July 2014 08:21, by Wicdail

    Michael Makuei Lueth,
    Rebels had not refused the participation of stakeholders in the peace negotiations. Rather it were you who tried to confused the IGAD and international community on peace process thinking that stakeholders would works on your favour based on dirty games you play with some of them. Now IGAD and the international community has realised the best mechanism from the rebellions’

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    • 2 July 2014 08:25, by Wicdail

      leadership and they are working on how stakeholders should participate as a consultative block, rather than a roundtable direct negotiations with the warring parties.

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  • 2 July 2014 09:31, by Letigolight

    The IGAD secretary has not appologised for the "stupid" comment that sent the government delegation out of the peace talks, how comes you now change and say peace is contingent upon the rebel team turning up for negotiations, has the president’s being "Stupid" become irrelevant as a point for your refusal to negotiate peace with the rebels? Tell us!

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  • 2 July 2014 10:34, by AbuDeng

    Does anyone believe this supposed RSS govt statement: “we are ready to sign a peace agreement within 15 days"

    I don’t think it is genuine, given the past actions of RSS govt!

    If the President "decrees" the SPLA to stop the war - stand down! And begin reforms asked for since 2010/2011. That is how one shows seriousness.

    Real leaders take bold, definitive actions - will you, President Kiir?ad

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  • 3 July 2014 13:48, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    Mr Minister, you do not talk peace with sword on your hands. We know what your strategies are. We have been under your barbaric rule for so long. A rule where compassion, humanity, love for the country and her people visibly absent in you. Go back to head your cattle because do not think the way you look after your kraal is the same to ruling a country.

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