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South Sudan optimistic of peace deal with rebels

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September 30, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government has expressed optimism at the prospect of reaching a peaceful settlement to the country’s ongoing conflict in which thousands of lives have been lost after political differences within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) turned violent in mid-December last year.

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) assembled in the capital, Juba on 8 January 2014 (Photo: Mehmet Kemal Firik/Anadolu Agency/Getty)

Martin Majut Yak, a member of the government delegation attending peace talks being led by East African mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), said direct negotiations between the warring parties and former political detainees had paved the way for “frank and open discussions” between the major stakeholders on a rotational basis.

“I can say that something will come out of these talks because the way these talks have started is encouraging in the sense that we have taken complete ownership of the process. Now it is us involved in direct discussions,” he said.

According to Yak, Deng Alor, a member of the group of former detainees, led talks on Monday followed by the government’s lead negotiator, Nhial Deng Nhial, who took over on Tuesday. The rebels’ chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai, is due to take over in the next round.

“If we have started like this before we will have found [a] solution to this conflict already. But it was unfortunate that someone has had to shuttle between us when talks started,” said Yak in a statement broadcast by South Sudan Television (SSTV) on Tuesday.

He said parties have agreed on the principle of federalism as the system of governance, but that public views in the country to ensure inclusivity will have to be considered during transitional period.

“Discussions now are about governance, functions of the transitional government, its period and the competence of the prime minister,” said Yak.

“The rebels would like to reduce the competence of the president to a ceremonial head of state, so that the prime minister takes the executive powers. On our side we have said our system is presidential and if there is a need for a change, it has to be discussed in the country so that our people are given the opportunity to make a right choice,” he added.

Yak said that both sides were making progress, saying there was a possibility of reaching consensus over the matters.

IGAD-led talks have so far failed to reach a lasting political settlement to the more than nine-month-long crisis, having been hampered by repeated delays and disagreements between the main parties.

Earlier ceasefire agreements have also failed to be implemented on the ground.

The fighting in South Sudan has pitted government troops loyal to president Salva Kiir against rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar, who was sacked last July.

The conflict has reignited tribal tensions across the country, namely between the Dinka, to which Kiir hails, and Machar’s Nuer tribe.

(ST)

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  • 1 October 2014 08:38, by Mr Point

    What provisions in a peace deal would prevent Presidential Guards from carrying out a massacre of civilians?

    repondre message

    • 1 October 2014 09:24, by Redeemer

      All we need is peace, what we don’t want is cultivating a spirit of deadly change. We want a spirit of peaceful change.

      repondre message

  • 1 October 2014 09:19, by Marco Bul

    Peace only be achieved when the gov’t delegation soften.They are still arrogant

    repondre message

    • 1 October 2014 09:36, by Redeemer

      Marco
      What is going on in Adis. is "What are my powers" and civilians are suffering in the bush and UN camps. You wanted the war to continue so that the gov’t delegation soften, you are more than devil.

      repondre message

    • 1 October 2014 13:03, by Deng M. Nyang

      Brother don,t always be negative, we are hungry for peace. We should appreciate that progress in negotiation. We are all South Sudanese and our young country is able to accommodate us all. We have to settle our differences through negotiation. Even you who is making these negative comments will gain nothing, you are not going to be a minister or commissioner so let us preach for peace and unity.

      repondre message

  • 2 October 2014 03:57, by tootke’bai-ngo

    THERE WIL BE NO PEACE IN S. SUDAN UNLESS THE ROOT CAUSES OF THE PARTY(SPLM)BREAKDOWN ARE ADDRESS.
    KIIR DOES NOT WANT PEACE, HE INTENTIONALLY STARTED THIS WAR TO BENEFIT HIM(TO CANCEL 2015 ELECTION). ALL THIS NONSENSE ATTEMPTS ARE NOT SINCERE. GOSS IS ONLY TRYING TO EASE INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE NOT TO MAKE A PERMENANT PEACE. WE NEEDED REAL REFORMS INCLUDING LIMITING PRESIDENT POWERS, PERIOD.

    repondre message

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