Oct 14, 2020 (Thessherald)–South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) delegation led by Gen. Paul Malong Awan met with the government delegation led by Hon. Phial Deng Nhial on Saturday 10th October, 2020 in Rome, Italy.
The Dialogue was led by the Chief Mediator Prof. Mario Giro and Dr Paolo, Secretary General of the Community of Sant’ Egidio. The dialogue between SSOMA and the government was cordial and fruitful. Sant’ Egidio wanted the dialogue to pick up from where things were left earlier this year due to COVID-19 lockdown, which were Rome Declaration and Rome resolutions.
Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial expressed President Kiir’s seriousness and commitment to an inclusive peace process and implementation in South Sudan. The dialogue stressed on the importance of silencing the guns in order to allow the people of South Sudan to choose how to govern themselves in an inclusive manner as well as in the making of the constitution process.
The government strongly expressed that the security reforms cannot be made in the absence of Gen. Paul Malong Awan and Gen. Oyay Deng Ajak, both of whom were part and parcel of the liberation struggle. That peace can only be achieved if all the opposition groups are included and back in the country.
The two delegations expressed their commitments in being open-minded to finding solutions and making an agreement that will bring change and lasting peace for the suffering people of South Sudan. The first meeting concluded with commitment to addressing the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan as a way forward instead of having positions-based agreements as the solution.
The two delegations also jointly met with members of regional and international communities, who in turn expressed their common interest in the search for peace in South Sudan. They expressed their sympathies and hopes for South Sudanese to find a solution and reconcile to end the suffering of the people.
After a series of side meetings, deliberations and a final meeting on 12th October, 2020 night, we regret to inform the public that the Sant’ Egidio Rome initiative for South Sudan peace process ended without any resolve, except for the reaffirmation and recommitment to the cessation of hostilities agreement (CoHA).
The other regrettable thing was that SSOMA split into two because Sant’ Egidio could not convince the parties to negotiate as one opposition group with the government. The government delegation led by Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial and Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin did not take advantage of the split of SSOMA and instead decided to meet the two groups separately.
The Delegates of SSOMA and the government departed Rome on the 12th October, 2020 and will be informed about the continuation of the peace negotiations on a later date.