South Sudan has agreed to a ceasefire after peace talks with various opposition groups

Thursday, January 16th, 2020 06:52 |
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (L) converses with opposition leader Riek Machar in Juba, capital of South Sudan. (Xinhua/Denis Elamu)


South Sudan has agreed to a ceasefire after peace talks in Rome with various opposition groups that refused to sign the 2018 revitalized peace deal between the government and the main opposition group in Ethiopia.

The government inked the deal with the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA), a coalition of opposition groups that did not sign the 2018 peace agreement. The revitalized peace was inked in Ethiopia in September 2018 between the government and the main opposition, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)-In-Opposition led by Riek Machar.

Under the ten-point statement dubbed the Rome declaration, the parties reaffirmed their commitment to cease hostilities and continue to dialogue under auspices of the Saint Egidio Catholic community which mediated the talks in Italy.

"We have reaffirmed our will to foster dialogue in order to facilitate further reconciliation and stabilization by addressing the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan," said a joint statement issued in Juba.

Barnaba Marial Benjamin, presidential political advisor who led the government delegation, noted that the parties are aware of the suffering of the people caused by the devastating five years conflict and the urgent need to cease hostilities.

The parties also agreed on the comprehensive political engagement and further dialogue to continue under the mediation of Saint Egidio.

"We vow to continue with further dialogue under auspices of Saint Egidio," it said.

The opposition groups also requested the Catholic organization to reach out to the regional body, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which mediated the 2018 revitalized peace deal signed by President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar of the SPLM-IO.

The parties agreed to allow unhindered humanitarian access in their controlled areas.

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013, after President Salva Kiir sacked his deputy Riek Machar leading soldiers loyal to the respective leader to fight.

Under the 2018 peace deal, Machar will return to take up one of the five vice presidency positions in the transitional unity government expected to be formed in February. (Xinhua)

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