Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 8 June 2018

Include S. Sudan opposition groups in Kiir-Machar meeting

Position on the involvement of Sudan to bring Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr Riek Machar for a face-to-face talk

By Telar Deng

“Peace comes from being able to contribute the best we have, and all that we are, towards creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.” Hafsat Abiola

It is high time we forgot about the past and worked together to bring a lasting solution to the civil war that is ravaging our country. Foreign intervention might not really bring the solutions we need as a country but will give us a platform in which we will be able to find our own solutions as South Sudanese. Therefore, we thank Sudan for giving us a platform on which President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar will be able to meet on a face-to-face basis.

However as they also meet, it is very important to be cognizant of the fact that we have quite a number of movements in South Sudan who may have been aggrieved by the way things are run in the country. These parties also need to be included in the peace talks and given a chance at the table. I believe if all parties are brought together, we would be fostering quite a number of things, first, we would bring all the different ideas to the table. Our solutions lie in these ideas. Secondly, we would also be fostering multi-party democracy in our young nation. This would assist us in fostering a feeling of unity among the followers of various political ideologies and would also prevent one political ideology from being dominant. Our citizens would feel involved because they also have parties they support. The inclusivity of all the parties will help us realize the peace that we all desire.

I would like to thank all the IGAD member states for the unrelenting support that they have accorded South Sudan for some years now. However, as we give credit where it’s due, we should also speak out on the vices, It was a miscalculation not to include Dr Riek Machar in the peace talks was a miscalculation on IGAD’s part.

IGAD should also include the newly formed parties that are already on the ground. The left out movements will definitely carry on with the war regardless of the UNSC sanctions. For instance, as it stands currently, some SPLA generals have been sanctioned by the UNSC yet they are the ones pursuing the military incursion on behalf of the government. I still vehemently discourage sanctions because sanctions defeat diplomacy. Once a country is sanctioned, the international community loses leverage to influence the country and its rulers. When I was in Russia as an ambassador I lobbied the Russians to oppose sanctions against South Sudan because I believe the stick and carrot policy doesn’t work. Do we need peace or accountability?

I think we need peace first then we can be held accountable later. The hybrid court will take care of accountability and not the UNSC.It is our hope and prayer that peace would be achieved sooner than we all expected.

The author is the former South Sudanese ambassador to Russian Federation