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South Sudanese rebels to be excluded from national dialogue: official

March 09, 2017 (JUBA) – Members of South Sudan’s armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO), who have not laid down arms will not take part in the national dialogue initiative, an official said.

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South Sudanese information minister Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 5 January 2014 (Photo: AP/Elias Asmara)

"Our understanding of inclusivity is that all opposition groups, which put down their guns, will be allowed to join the national dialogue," the country’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth said on Thursday.

President Salva Kiir announced the dialogue in December last year and its steering committee is to be sworn in this month.

According to the minister, it would be "unacceptable” for members of the armed opposition forces to attend the dialogue with guns.

"There is no way to allow anyone who is fighting the government to attend the dialogue when they have not stopped fighting," he said.

The leader of the armed opposition faction, Riek Machar criticized the national dialogue initiative, saying the process will never succeed unless peace and stability is restored in the country.

President Kiir said the dialogue will be led by “eminent personalities” accepted as credible, genuine and trusted by all rival parties in the country.

(ST)