August 19, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government says it would not take part in negotiations with rebels led by former vice-president Riek Machar unless both parties agree on a meaningful cessation of hostilities accord.
- Face to face talks between the South Sudanese government and rebels in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, resumed on 13 January 2014, with a secured a ceasefire agreement signed later that month (Photo: AFP/Carl De Souza)
South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, said the government delegation had submitted a letter to the mediators demanding a clear timetable for implementation of the ceasefire deal.
“We told the mediation team that in the light of the rebel activities, it is important agreeing on implementation matrix of the cessation hostilities agreement should be a priority. We asked for them [mediators] to provide a clear timetable so that fighting stops,” he told SSTV.
A source familiar with the ongoing talks told Sudan Tribune that the leader of the government delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial and Lueth held a meeting with the mediators on Monday, during which they set conditions for participating in the on-and-off negotiations.
“After they left, the other Leaders of the delegations were called in to be told that the government delegation, instead of consulting on the committees, came in with new two conditions if not met they will not take part in the talks,” an opposition figure at the talks disclosed on Tuesday.
The government delegation, he said, demanded that the matrix of the cessation of hostilities agreement be signed first before any talks on other issues and that sufficient consensus on rules of procedures only be amended by the two warring parties to allow engagement in direct negotiations.
“This literally implies that participation of the other stakeholders is not required in the discussions about governance and transitional arrangements,” he explained.
The senior opposition official said the behavior of the warring parties undermines ongoing commitments to resolve the current crisis, further accusing the government of creating division within the opposition with threats to remove some of the members from the government and making promises for other members with ministerial appointment in the next government.
“You know that the talks are in form of multi stakeholders, even though the two parties have been asking for bilateral negotiation to the exclusion of the other stakeholders, which is against the communiqué of heads IGAD member countries which the two principals signed in June. They agreed on multi stakeholder format but now they seem they want to go against it,” he said.