Opposition Groups Return To Negotiating Table

The nine Opposition Groups that boycotted the talks at the ongoing High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) in the Ethiopian capital, Addis-Ababa today morning returning to the negotiating table.

Opposition Groups Return To Negotiating Table
Dr. Kwaje Lasu, Spokesperson of the Opposition Groups at the HLRF [Gurtong photo|Ojwe Lumara]

By Ojwe Lumara

ADDIS ABABA, 13 February, 2018 [Gurtong]-
On Monday, the peace talks stalled after the main armed opposition group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) of the former First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar walked away in protest of alleged government offensive in Nasir.

Shortly after the mediator, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) adjourned the meeting, eight other opposition groups followed suite, paralyzing the talks on Monday.

According to the statement issued by the nine opposition groups yesterday, they condemned the government’s alleged violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed at the first phase of the HLRF late December last year.

 “The government of South Sudan has demonstrated lack of seriousness and political will to negotiate in good faith by refusing to sign the Declaration of Principles agreement that was jointly discussed and signed by all other parties to the revitalization process,” Dr. Kwaje Lasu, a Spokesperson of all the Opposition Groups said.

They demanded an urgent and immediate investigation of the alleged current violations and a review of the status of implementation of Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.

“The government forces must immediately withdraw from all positions they captured in violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, Article (3) Sub-article (2),” Dr. Kwaje said.

The opposition also demanded the government to sign the Declaration of Principles that is the basis for negotiation.

The Government Spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth on Monday said the boycott of the opposition on the grounds of violation of cessation of hostilities agreement was not founded since it is the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) to investigate and report alleged violations.

He had called on the opposition to “come back to the table so that we take peace to the people of South Sudan.”

However this morning after consultations among themselves, the opposition groups walked back to the conference room.

Edmund Yakani, a civil society delegate at the Forum said the issue of boycott has been resolved and the talks have resumed.

“To make up for time lost, this morning people have been divided in to two working groups to discuss Chapter One and Chapter Two. It means things are now moving smoothly,” he said.

Chapter One of the Agreement is about the Transitional Government of National Unity of the Republic of South Sudan, with articles about the mandate of the TGONU; composition, it structures among other articles.

Chapter Two talks about Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements.


 

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