August 4, 2014 (JUBA) – A mini conference on peace and reconciliation successfully ended in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria state on Sunday, with calls for stability in the country.
- South Sudan’s vice-pesident, James Wani Igga, speaks at the opening of the SPLM building in Juba on 15 November 2013 (Photo: Larco Lomayat)
Up to 345 state political and traditional leaders drawn from all over the state attended the two-day symposium, opened by vice-president James Wani Igga.
“[The] mini conference will lead us to [a] national conference for peace and reconciliation in [the] future,” Tulio Odongi, the ruling party’s (SPLM) chief whip, told reporters in Juba on Monday.
Odongi, who accompanied Igga to Western Equatoria, said conference was part of efforts to help the East African regional bloc (IGAD) derived solutions to South Sudan’s seven months old conflict.
“We had very useful consultations. We gathered views and the attendance was very marvelous,” the SPLM official said.
Talks between the warring parties, under IGAD’s mediation, got underway in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa yesterday with calls on the parties to prioritise the formation of a transitional government.
South Sudan government says each of the 10 states would organise its own conference in preparation for a national symposium in future.
“There was a consensus among our people for peace and stability,” said Beda Machar, the agriculture and forestry minster who also accompanied Igga.
“The conference demonstrates South Sudanese ability to identify their challenges and how to address them”, added the minister.
Unlike Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states, Western Equatoria was not badly hit by the conflict, which has killed thousands and displaced nearly 1.5 million people.
Observers and analysts, however, argue that national peace and reconciliation processes are essential for mending tribal hatred aggravated by this conflict.