Home | News    Tuesday 8 April 2014

Former SPLM detainees excluded from S. Sudan peace talks


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

April 7, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional bloc mediating between the South Sudan’s warring parties, has suspended the participation of the seven non-aligned members of the ruling SPLM.

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Former South Sudanese detainees hold a press conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 13 February 2014 (Photo: IGAD)

The decision by the East African body comes after Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn brought together both government and rebel delegations and held consultation meetings on Saturday in Addis Ababa in an effort to push stalled talks forward.

The meeting also attempted to launch a “leadership review” within the SPLM, which has been severely divided by the conflict which began in December pitting rebels - consisting of defected soldiers and armed civilians - led by former vice-president, Riek Machar, against president Salva Kiir’s government.

The internal SPLM reconciliation forum, facilitated by IGAD, Ethiopia’s ruling party and South Africa will prepare the ground for a SPLM “leadership review and self-assessment forum”.

“I am convinced that once the SPLM party dispute is resolved, the national problems by and large will be resolved,” the Ethiopian prime minister said.

“We will remain firm to see to it that this intra-party dialogue results in fruitful outcomes,” he added.

Desalegn said the two sides must negotiate and bring peace to South Sudan, adding that the talks cannot be further delayed because of the seven members of the SPLM who want to attend the talks as a third party.

The ’SPLM 7’ were initially arrested and accused of being part of an alleged coup attempt led by Machar. All of the accused deny the allegations and the group of seven were released to Kenya in late January at IGAD’s request.

However, rather than joining Machar’s SPLM/A-in-Opposition the group said that as they were not part of the armed conflict they would attend the talks as a third party. This is one of the reasons for the peace process stalling following a weak ceasefire deal signed on 23 January.

The agreement has been largely ignored by both sides and the conflict, which has displaced over a million people and killed thousands.

Desalegn said IGAD was looking to use a similar model to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan.

Any peace deal reached at the current negotiations will be the basis of future governance and law making, he said.

“I would like to urge you to move from the existing arrangement and conform to the realities by making internal self-assessment, critically,” Desalegn told members of the SPLM political bureau on Saturday.

“The destiny of South Sudan up to now is in the hands of SPLM and its leadership and its members. Hence the party dispute is at the heart of the current crisis and its resolution is cardinal to addressing national governance issues that will eventually transform the country and the people of South Sudan for prosperity,” he stressed.

Despite their current exclusion, an IGAD official told Sudan Tribune that the SPLM 7 may be allowed to join the final stage of the peace talks when the two sides are close to signing a peace agreement.

IGAD have given the two warring parties two weeks before the new round of talks resumes on 22 April without the SPLM 7.

Rebel spokesperson Yohanis Musa told Sudan Tribune that Machar’s negotiating team was not consulted or involved in IGAD’s decision.

“The government side insisted to exclusion of the SPLM 7 and IGAD took their case seriously and came to decision to suspend their participation,” said Musa.

IGAD had previously backed an all-inclusive peace process, including the participation of the SPLM 7, as well as the four political detainees under trial in Juba and the wider civil society.

Last week, IGAD rejected an agreement between the two SPLM factions to sign a Declaration of Principles and agenda for the negotiations, arguing that the arrangement excluded the group of seven former political prisoners.

Another member of the rebel negotiating team, who preferred anonymity, accused IGAD of allegedly taking the government’s side.


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  • 8 April 2014 07:48, by omoni jr.

    This is good idea, i do support it too, so called G7 detainees are waste time and space. Let them go back to Juba and face Dinka made up"coup" court, and even get slaughtered or hanged live live..........

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    • 8 April 2014 08:11, by Mi diit

      Shame on G7. They were released and betrayed Dr. Machar. They should join the armed resistance against dictator Kiir instead of wasting time hoping to steal the leadership on a golden plate. How can Kiir accept peaceful and democratic internal party evaluation and self-assessment when he rejected it and called it a coup in December last year?

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      • 9 April 2014 06:15, by Bentiu son

        Bravo Mi diit,you are correct,those 7 detainees had betrayed Dr Machar and our freedom fighters who fought hard so that they can be release peacefully but at end of day they wrongly chosen to be neutral body hoping of getting leadership through neutrality which won’t happen at all.Those cowards politicians should learn from Dr Mabior who used to say freedom must be fought collectively

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    • 8 April 2014 21:42, by Tong dut

      Dinka kirr will kill them all, who cares since the goverment is ours.
      Soon we are going to get rid of Machar the Nuer.We know hi hiding place,and those who suport him.

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  • 8 April 2014 07:51, by Chol A.

    That is good move Mr.chairman these guys are just obstructed the talks by calling themselves to be third block while they were behind the coup. If they are included than other four detainees in jail will creates the fourth block after being found innocent and talks can go no where. Now they must comeback and face the chargers

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    • 8 April 2014 08:23, by Bentiu son

      Dear comrade Lt Gen Taban Deng Gai and 1st Lt Gen Alfred Lado Gore,plz,heroes do not surrender since the whole nation are behind you except some Dinka tribal mindsets or warmongers individuals.What creditability and neutrality do IGAD members have? Non right? Upto now IGAD member are not serious about peace negotiation as to bring tangible fruits but it becomes a business for them.Why they want

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      • 8 April 2014 08:34, by Bentiu son

        to continue negotiating while those previous agreements are NOT implemented? For instant,release of 4 remaining detainees,withdrawal of UPDF,M23 of Congo,Sudan rebels groups JEM,SRF n SPLA-N and deployment of neutral IGAD soldiers as to monitoring continues violation of cessation of hostility Agreement(MVM) signed on 23/1/14.The creditability and neutrality of IGAD is questionable becoz upto NOW

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        • 8 April 2014 08:44, by Bentiu son

          IGAD members States never ever condemned in strong term possible the direct meddling or involvement of Uganda Museveni troops in South Sudan internal affairs but yet they trying to allow M7 to be mediator and persecutor at same times which is unfair,absurd,ridicules or madness indeed.Hence,since IGAD are siding with brutal Juba regime, we freedom fighters calling u to withdraw from endless negotia

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  • 8 April 2014 09:14, by Gat Gan Kiir

    IGAD became an organisation led by thief who made money with blood of innocents civilian. How come you support the government that slaughtering its citizen idea. I believed the peace that was signed three months ago is violated by IGAD itself. Ugandan withdrawal, release of political detainees and fully participate in peace process is violated. So there is no need for wasting time in A/A.

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  • 8 April 2014 16:09, by Positive Thinker

    I don’t support the Idea of the third body in the talk, but for comprehensive setlement of the problem of South Sudan. SPLM G7 and reamining G4 are part and parcel of SPLM/A in Opossition. But the stannce the government has taken that they can only talk with any body who has taken up arm will make more people take up arm, mark my word. Dave has got State now. Power of AK47

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