A member of the National Consensus Forum – a non-signatory to the peace agreement says they are willing to meet the government to discuss the way forward, especially now that the revitalized agreement nears its ending.
Pagan Amum’s statement follows the lifting of suspension on the Rome peace process by the unity government on January 28, 2023.
The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin announced in Juba on Saturday that the government will return to the Rome talks.
Reacting to the announcement, Amum said the government has shown that there were no reasons to suspend the government participation in the Sant’Egidio-meditated process in the first place.
“The National Consensus Forum and the non-signatory opposition movement are ready to meet the government to discuss the way forward especially now that the revitalized agreement is ending and its transition is coming to an end without implementation of the peace agreement and peace and transition to democracy achieved,” the opposition official said.
The unity government had suspended its participation twice in the peace negotiations in the last two years.
Juba first halted the talks in 2021, accusing NAS of attacking and killing four people including two catholic nuns along Juba-Nimule Highway, which the armed opposition group denied.
The second boycott by the government delegation was in November last year. Presidential Affairs Minister Marial Benjamin alleged that the non-signatory South Sudan Opposition Group was buying time to prepare for war.
But Amum said the government accusations against the opposition that led to a suspension of the talks were lies to obstruct the search for peace in the country.
“We hope that the government will not change their minds after the visit of the Pope and the accompanying religious leaders,” he said.
The former SPLM official said the unity government has failed to build peace and should hand over power to the people to elect their government in a free, fair, and peaceful election.
He added that it is time for all south Sudanese stakeholders to convene a round-table conference to develop a national consensus and agree on a new social contract as a basis for the state and nation of South Sudan.
Amum urges the government to ready itself in discussing the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan as well as discussing factors that led to the failures of implementation of all the peace agreements.
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