This afternoon in Rome, Italy, the South Sudan government delegation headed by the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial, and the main South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) have reached consensus on ratification of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) after 3-hour long deliberations.
The rivaling parties and the Roman Catholic mediating community Sant’Egidio agree that it is important for the warring parties to observe the CoHA and restore peace and stability in the affected areas; however, the armed opposition demands that the parties must review the terms of CoHA to understand where and why it is being violated.
Addressing the media, the Secretary General and official spokesperson of SSOMA, Mr. Deng Vanang, said the government delegation refused the idea that COHA should be reviewed but instead insisted that SSOMA must recomment to its implementation.
“SSOMA and the Government of the Republic of South Sudan met on the 2nd day running to resolve the protracted seven year-old-conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.” Deng Vanang said from Rome, Italy.
With SSOMA sticking to its initial demand that the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement must be reviewed to find loopholes that are being exploited by warring parties, Sant’Egidio facilitators agreed that it is important for the parties to review COHA.
“However, SSOMA swiftly turned down the government’s point of view, arguing reason making the parties violate the COHA they agreed on be pointed out and amicably resolved to avoid future violations which have become the order of the day.” Deng explains.
The parties sign the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in January this year and agreed to operationalize it from February; however, the parties failed to do so and war continued mostly in pockets of Equatorian region where Thomas Cirilo Forces are based.
The South Sudanese parties resumed these peace talks yesterday after a long break due to coronavirus but the first day of talks was frustrated by emerging division in SSOMA and internal chaos in Gen. Paul Malong’s party, SSUF/A.
Malong and his Real-SPLM partners were barred from the first round of talks; however, the Roman Catholic mediating community decided to offer Gen. Malong and Gen. Oyai Deng a chance afterward to hear their views.
While the division remains in SSOMA and also in Malong’s divided SSUF/A, the mediators and guarantors pledged for all parties to be involved in the talks demanding that any internal differences can be resolved on the sideline or perhap at any other time after the talks conclude on Tuesday.