August 5, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The South Sudanese opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM in Opposition) led by the former vice-president, Riek Machar, said they were ready for direct negotiations with the government in order to “expeditiously” reach to a peace agreement to end the nearly eight month long crisis in the country.
- President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signe a peace deal in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 9 May 2014 aimed at resolving conflict in South Sudan (Photo: AFP/Zacharias Abubeker)
In a statement seen by Sudan Tribune read at the fifth session of the peace talks which resumed on Monday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the acting chief negotiator for the rebels, Dhieu Mathok Diing, further called for restriction of the negotiations to the two warring parties.
He said the other stakeholders would participate in a consultative manner particularly when it comes to the negotiations on formation of a transitional government of national unity.
The rebels delegation on Tuesday walked out from the talks when all the groups of stakeholders were seated to involve in the direct negotiations.
These groups include representatives of civil society organisations, faith based groups, political parties and SPLM former detainees, in addition to the government and SPLM/A in opposition.
“We believe that the participation of stakeholders in the process leading to peace and stability is significant. However, the nature of the conflict and its resolution requires that we conduct direct talks between the SPLM/SPLA (in opposition) and the Government of Republic of South Sudan,” partly reads the statement.
“These are the parties to the conflict and it is imperative that they thrash out the root causes of the conflict in order to expedite a peace agreement,” Dhieu added.
He further outlined that this round of negotiations would address all the issues under federal system of governance under which a transitional government of national unity would be formed.
The acting chief negotiator said the rebels position include introduction of “critical reforms such as national security, civil service, judiciary, defence, economics and financial sector, service delivery, foreign policy, reconstruction and development, physical infrastructures, media, natural resource, civil defence, elections commission, national bureau of census and statistics, political parties act, social services sector, wild life reforms, guidelines of national healing and reconciliation, and parameters of the permanent constitution.”
The opposition faction also stressed that a peace agreement would be the foundation of the proposed transitional government of national unity without which a transitional government would not be formed.
“Without a peace agreement between the parties in conflict, there will be no Transitional Government of National Unity. Indeed, there will be no state in South Sudan given that initial agreements on cessation of hostilities have yet to be implemented,” the rebels said.
“The foreign forces have not been withdrawn from the territory of South Sudan,” the statement said, accusing the government of violations and insistence of recapturing the rebel held territories.