March 30, 2017 (JUBA) - On Thursday, a long existing South Sudanese political party said it would not participate in the President Salva Kiir’s national dialogue unless certain changes were made to reflect the general views of the population.
- South Sudanese people take to the streets as part of a peace march organised by civil society groups in the capital, Juba, on 8 January 2014 (Photo AP/Ali Ngethi)
Joseph Modesto, the Secretary General of South Sudan Communist Party, told the Sudan Tribune that his party would not participate in the dialogue unless certain measures were taken by President Kiir.
“When you talk of dialogue, certain measures must indicate that there is a will for dialogue. But look at the current situation in the country, is there anything showing that there is a political will to start this dialogue?" said Modesto
"Our position is that the dialogue process has to be organised by a neutral party. It is not up to the government to determine which parties can go into the dialogue with the government itself. We want the dialogue to be truthful,” he added.
Last year, President Kiir proposed to hold a national dialogue process in the country. The opposition groups generally welcomed the process but pointed to the need for a neutral leadership. Also, they called for the reactivation of the peace agreement signed in August 2015 and its full implementation, pointing to the security arrangements.
The secretary general went on to say that the war has to be stopped. Adding that President Salva Kiir needs to declare a unilateral ceasefire, lift the state of emergency, release political prisoners and suspend the operationalization of more states.
The demands of the leftist party are shared by regional and international organisations which declared their support for the dialogue process as an additional means to ensure the implementation of the IGAD brokered the peace deal.
During this month of March, the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the African Union special envoy for South Sudan Alpha Oumar Konare called to create the needed conditions for an inclusive process.
During a visit to South Sudan, Konare called from Yei for a national dialogue led by a “neutral leader” and stressed on the need to include all armed and opposition groups, including those loyal to former FVP Riek Machar. Also, he backed calls to collect and preserve evidence for establishing criminal accountability.
"The Security Council notes that an immediate ceasefire by all parties is vital for any National Dialogue to be credible and recalls statements by Presidents Mogae and Konaré, that an inclusive political process must also be authentic, autonomous, and impartially led by a credible facilitator accepted by the people of South Sudan, and which supports the Agreement," said the UNSC in a presidential statement issued on 23 March.