July 11, 2014 (JUBA) – A group of South Sudanese advocates representing various interests urged rival leaders on Wednesday to resume stalled peace talks aiming to end the country’s almost seven-month-long conflict.
The call came during a debate organised in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa to discuss key considerations for avoiding the return of full-scale war in the world’s youngest nation.
A dramatic overhaul of existing systems of governance, a shift to more truly inclusive peacemaking processes, and a more open political environment have the potential to bring lasting change to the conflict-ridden country, the group said in a joint statement extended to Sudan Tribune.
“Warring parties must stop wanting to be something, and start thinking about what they can do for their people in order for this to end,” it reads in part.
Edmund Yakani, a renowned civil society activist, proposed the need for political reforms within the governing party (SPLM) for democracy to prevail.
David Deng, a researcher South Sudan Law Society (SSLS), said core issues such as corruption, impunity and injustice must be addressed by the proposed transitional government if conflicts, were to be avoided in future.
Nyanuer William Nyuon, the founder of Women Cry for Peace, said women were bigger role players in the peace negotiations to end the raging conflict.
“Women are the most affected people in this current crisis. We should be given the chance to be at that table to have a say in what kind of peace we want,” she said.
Julia Duany, the vice chancellor of John Garang University, said this Independence Day should be an important moment of hard reflection for all South Sudanese.
“We must think critically what it means to be South Sudanese. It’s time to choose the right path, and that path is peace,” she said.
The British charity, Oxfam, organised the political debate, which drew representatives from government, opposition, civil society, non-governmental organisations, donor countries and United Nations, among others.
Desire Assogbavi, the head of Oxfam’s AU Liaison Office, said the discussions provided ideal solutions on how peace could be restored in the country.