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Peace talks with holdouts resume tomorrow

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Sunday, March 7, 2021

Dr. Barnaba Marial, presidential affairs minister | File photo

A government delegation has traveled to Kenya for peace talks with a section of the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance-SOMA.

The team is led by Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the Special Envoy to President Salva Kiir.

The talks will be held in Naivasha starting tomorrow.

“We are meeting a section of SSOMA led by Pagan Amum of the Real SPLM and the one led by General Paul Malong of South Sudan United Front Army,” Dr. Barnaba told the state broadcaster SSBC at Juba International Airport Saturday.

“We will meet these two parties in order to discuss the root causes of the conflict. We expect the root causes which will be the agenda as they proposed, I think will be discussed within the context of the revitalized peace agreement.”

The peace talks started in 2019 by the Rome-based Catholic Community of Sant’Egidio.

The mediation is aimed at supporting an inclusive peace agreement in South Sudan by persuading the holdout group to join the revitalized peace deal signed in September 2018.

The SSOMA coalition is led by Thomas Cirillo, Paul Malong, Pagan Amum, among others.

In October last year, the talks were adjourned after parties could not reach a consensus on some contentious issues.

In January, the government asked for the talks to be rescheduled after some of its delegation members tested positive for coronavirus.

The IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, Ismail Wais also proposed for the relocation of the peace talks to any African country so that it can be near to the people.

The mediator-Sant E’gidio then rescheduled the meeting in Naivasha, Kenya.

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