Rome Talks involving Diplomats and South Sudanese parties. (Getty Images)
H.E. Salva Kiir the president of the republic of South Sudan’s has quit his involvement and participation in the Rome talks with the South Sudanese Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA), dashing any prospects for peace in a country ruined by civil wars and rampant corruption.
On Monday, while inaugurating the first sitting of parliament, Kiir said his government has decided to pause the ongoing Sant’Egidio led Rome Peace initiative. Our pursuit of an inclusive peace should never be taken for weakness and used as a window to kill the innocent
In July 2021,15th to 18th, the Community of Sant’Egidio hosted peace talks between the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) of South Sudan, the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance-South Sudan United Front/Army (SSOMA SSUF/A), SSOMA-Real Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SSOMA Real SPLM), in the presence of observers from the international community to carry on the Rome Initiative.
During the four days, the parties signed two documents which included a roadmap for including the Real SPLM and SSUF/A in the Ceasefire Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) and a roadmap for political dialogue on the causes of the conflict, at the end of which the parties committed to signing a comprehensive agreement.
The first document commits SSOMA to establish a communication contact with the CTSAMVM to participate in a technical workshop, to be organized by the CTSAMVM and Sant’Egidio with IGAD and RJMEC from 2 to 5 September; and to provide a training course for military personnel, who will be employed in the CTSAMVM structures.
The second document signed by the delegations commits the parties to an agenda of meetings to be held in Rome in September, October and November 2021 that will lead, in the hope of the Sant’Egidio mediators and international observers, to a final peace agreement between the parties.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Switzerland and Japan, as well as representatives of the European Union, IGAD, UNMISS, RJMEC and CTSAMVM, all of whom encouraged the progress made.
In his reason for pulling out of the Rome talks, Kiir specifically singled out the National Salvation Front (NAS) headed by General Thomas Cirilo Swaka and set conditions for his government’s resumption of the talks.
Salva Kiir held the hold-out group responsible for attacks on the Juba-Nimule highway on August 16, 2021 in which scores of people, including two catholic nuns lost their lives despite none of the groups claiming responsibility for the recent attacks.
The president said Talks with SSOMA will only resume after they cease killing the innocent people and show their commitment to documents they have signed in Rome. It is only when they meet these conditions that genuine dialogue will resume.
The peace talks gave an opportunity to the warring factions signed with Rome Declaration and Rome Resolutions with SSOMA and the re-commitment to Cessation of Hostilities in December 2017 and Declaration of Principles. The goal of signing these documents was to stop fighting and save innocent lives. These were our commitment to inclusivity”, he told legislators.
Kiir said documents signed by the group suspected to have carried out the attack with the government were also part of confidence-building aimed at achieving lasting peace in the country.