The delegation of the former Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, insists that they will not participate in the second round of talks unless the government fully implements the cessation of hostilities agreement signed last month.
The delegation of the SPLM/SPLA –in Opposition wants the government to release the remaining four detainees and halt any attacks against their positions in the country.
Dr. Machar’s deputy spokesperson, Yohanis Musa, told Eye Radio in Addis Ababa that all the political detainees need to be released.
“Up to now, the government has not respected and implemented these two agreements and there are still attacks being launched on our bases and still the government continues to insult us on television and continues to escalate the situation,” said Mr Musa.
“This means that nothing has been done regarding the implementation of the first two agreements.”
However, IGAD says the conditions set by the SPLM/SPLA -in Opposition for the talks to resume do not reflect the views of their leader, Dr. Riek Machar.
IGAD special envoy Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin said Dr. Riek Machar has agreed to proceed with the talks without preconditions.
“We have visited and met with Dr. Riek Machar and his group and we had a very constructive discussion with him,” he explained.
“We understood that he is still insisting on and pushing for the withdrawal of foreign troops on the basis of the cessation of hostilities agreement.
“He also calls for the release of the four remaining detainees but he is prepared not to put it as a condition for the continuation of the political dialogue and national reconciliation.”
Ambassador Mesfin said the demands of Dr. Machar’s delegation are a breach of the agreements the two sides signed last month.
“They have signed the rules of engagement and regulations which forbid them to negotiate through the media,” Mr Mesfin added.
“It is to no avail and it would not be positively contributing but might create confusion and it contradicts the commitment of their leader who assured the Envoys, including the Deputy Chair of the AU Commission that traveled with the Envoys – the leader said to us in clear terms that he would not put those demands and/or positions as conditions.”
Yesterday, the Minister of Defense, Kuol Manyang, denied claims by Dr. Machar’s group that government forces had attacked anti-government forces in Upper Nile, Jonglei and Unity states.
Kuol told Eye Radio that Machar forces had attacked their bases in Upper Nile.
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