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Nine South Sudanese opposition parties form alliance

March 1, 2018 (JUBA) - Nine South Sudanese opposition groups have formed an alliance to expedite efforts to end the country’s civil war ahead of the next round of the revitalization of the peace accord.

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The High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) at the African Union Hall, Addis Ababa (Getty)

The group, in a statement issued Thursday, said they were driven by the desire to improve the situation and prevent it from disintegrating.

“At no time in the history of our country has the need to rescue South Sudan from complete disintegration become more urgent," partly reads the group’s statement.

"To meet the challenge of restoring the integrity and unity of our people and ensure a radical political, economic and security transformation, we the leaders of following South Sudanese Opposition Political Movements, Parties and Fronts namely: FDP, NAS, NDM, PDM, SSLM/A, SSNMC, SSPM, SSUM/A and UDRA have resolved to formalize and operationalize an alliance to accelerate efforts to restore just and durable peace, democracy and to preserve human rights and the fundamental democratic rights of our people," it added.

This cross-party agreement, they further stressed, is a recognition of the importance of pulling together our political and military resources in the service of our people.

“By appending our signature to the Charter of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, we are sending a strong and an inspiring signal to our suffering masses and our friends around the world that we as stewards of the aspirations of our people are serious about our responsibilities to rescue South Sudan from total disintegration, to restore peace and dignity to our people and ensure an equal, fair and empowered citizenship ready to make a real difference for future generations”, further read the statement.

It however remains unclear why the nine opposition parties left out nine left out the Riek Machar-led armed opposition entity (SPLM-IO).

Meanwhile, Kwaje Lasu, secretary-general of the South Sudan National Movement for Change, told VOA’s South Sudan In Focus program on Thursday that the various opposition groups had united.

"We in opposition believe that the unity of the opposition is paramount to address the issues that brought the country to the crisis, and since High [Level] Revitalization Forum 2, we have been working together collectively as a unified opposition addressing the issues of the country.’’ Lasu said, referring to the second phase of the South Sudan peace initiative.

The South Sudan Opposition Alliance is an umbrella group composed of the Federal Democratic Party, National Salvation Front, National Democratic Movement, People’s Democratic Movement, South Sudan Liberation Movement, South Sudan National Movement for Change, South Sudan Patriotic Movement, South Sudan United Movement and United Democratic Alliance.

The alliance of South Sudan opposition parties, Lasu said, will work together at the third round of the talks mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), due in March.

’It is an opportunity for us to cultivate our efforts and work together in a concerted mechanism to address the issues,’’ he further stressed.

(ST)