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South Sudan non-signatories say they met with IGAD envoy

Ismail Wais, IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, briefs the Security Council on 27 February 2018 (UN Photo)

February 27, 2019 (JUBA) - The South Sudan National Democratic Alliance (SSNDA) spokesperson Kwaje Lasu issued a statement on Wednesday saying the non-signatory groups effectively met with the IGAD Special Envoy Ismail Wais on 25 February.

The SSNDA statement contradicts a previous statement on the same day by the spokesperson of the National Salvation Front (NAS) who said they alliance declined to meet the IGAD envoy because they had been verbally notified for the meeting without informing them about its agenda.

Kwaje said that the meeting was hastily called and the IGAD did not specify the meeting agenda but "SSNDA’s response was solely based on its established policy of transparent engagement with the regional bodies and the international community in a quest for genuine and sustainable peace in South Sudan through peaceful dialogue".

According to the SSNAD spokesperson, Wais raised the issue of the clashes in the Yei River State and the need to abide by the cessation of hostilities. But he added that they reaffirmed their commitment to the cessation of hostilities which does not prevent them from self-defence.

"SSNDA would like to clearly state that the regime in Juba and its affiliated militias (Mathiang-Anyor) are the violators of the CoHA agreement and must be held accountable," he stressed.

He went further to say that the non-signatories believe that a lasting peace can only be achieved through a negotiated solution dealing with "fundamental issues pertaining to governance, security sector and accountability among others".

"We do welcome IGAD’s recently expressed willingness to engage the SSNDA towards bringing sustainable and inclusive peace to the country," he said without elaborating about the IGAD previous threat to design them as peace spoilers.

Sudan Tribune learned that the IGAD and SSNDA would meet soon in a week or two to further elaborate a roadmap for peace in South Sudan.

The opposition alliance demand to open the revitalized agreement for negotiations while the IGAD asked them to join the implementation of the peace pact.