News / Africa

South Sudan Hopeful of Improved Peace Talks With Rebels

Negotiators at South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa review a draft cessation of hostilities agreement on Jan. 13, 2014.
Negotiators at South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa review a draft cessation of hostilities agreement on Jan. 13, 2014.
Peter Clottey
South Sudan’s government expects a “significant improvement” in peace negotiations with the rebels, following the release of political detainees accused of plotting to overthrow President Salva Kiir’s government, according to presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny.

The next round of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) sponsored peace talks in neighboring Ethiopia are planned to begin Monday in the capital, Addis Ababa.  The released detainees include Pagan Amum, former Secretary General of the governing Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Majak D'Agot, Oyai Deng Ajak and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth. 

The release of the detainees has been one of the major demands by representatives of the rebels allied to former vice president Riek Machar at the peace negotiations.                                                            

“A significant result is to be expected in the resumption of the peace talks on Monday simply because before the former suspects of the coup attempt were released, are not going to be one of the pre-conditions the rebels would want to put forward before the negotiations,” said Ateny.  “I believe there would be a change in the manner in which the rebels would want to negotiate peace with [the] government.”

Ateny says the government would not oppose the alleged coup plotters from being involved in the peace negotiations to help resolve the conflict.

“The president is on record to have said that they are actually free to join any of the either side, either to cast their lot with the rebels or to come to the government side,” said Ateny.  “The government is of the opinion of [not] allowing a third party to be part of the peace negotiations, simply because, we wanted the peace negotiations to be confined to the two warring parties so that they can stop the bleeding.”

Friends of the released detainees have expressed concern the government has prevented the four from leaving the country.

But Ateny says supporters of the administration were unhappy about the release of the political detainees, since, they wanted to be punished for the conflict that has left tens of thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes.  He said President Kiir had to calm them down with the explanation that the release is a goodwill initiative aimed at helping to resolve the conflict.

Ateny also denied media reports the administration has confiscated their documents, thus preventing them from traveling to neighboring Ethiopia to be part of the peace negotiations.

“The president has urged them to be inside the country simply because, our political problem can be solved within South Sudan,” said Ateny.  “So that they could build the trust with the public because the public [was] outraged by their release.  So they have to be here in South Sudan at least for some time ... before they are allowed to travel.”

Ateny says the administration is hopeful the release of the political detainees will serve as a goodwill boost measure to help find a solution to the country’s crisis.
Clottey interview with Ateny Wek Ateny, presidential spokesperson
Clottey interview with Ateny Wek Ateny, presidential spokespersoni
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Comment Sorting
by: kujien from: unmiss
May 11, 2014 7:06 AM
we are inthe need of.

by: Philemon M from: Malawi
April 28, 2014 5:21 AM
Hello my fellow africans,lets build our nations please by strengthening and growing our economies instead of conflicts merely created by greed and jealousy.Its high time now we enrich our african continent.LETS WAKE UP PLEASE
In Response

by: Nahor from: Uganda
April 28, 2014 8:28 AM
If Generals could disinterests themselves for managing the politics of any country, this world would be a fair place to live in. Yes you have forced to Sudan accept you gain freedom through war. Please allow the civilians to propel the country to prosperity. Form a new government without the gunmen, South Sudan will see peace in totality

by: David from: USA
April 27, 2014 10:36 PM
It's really funny for Mr. president and his crew to say what they think is intelligence idea. Why would you delay the releasing till thousand and thousand of people have been killed. This should take place long time ago but if politicians don't lost money they won't release innocent people. I don't know what kind of stupid sense does it make but when a man cannot tell, he or she is stupidly blind.

by: Sam Dave from: USA
April 27, 2014 7:24 PM
Ateny Wek Ateny, why you and your Persident learned through the mistake all the time? Paul Malong Awan to be chief of staff and Marial Nuor to be SPLM/A intelligence! What's the government? By what circumstances that you realize that the four political detainees can help the both warring parts in Addis Ababa for peace process? AU, IGAD, USA, UK, and Norway asked Juba's administration to release all political detainees since you imprisoned them. What's the failure president of South Sudan that you advised. Right now all political detainees are innocent. Oh I forgot. Mr. Kiir released them because the rebels gave persident pressure and to stop to go to your home state. Please stop stupidity of racism or Barh El Gazalisationists instead of play the roll of United South Sudan and treated all civilians equal.

by: Malueth Agany from: Bravo letters
April 27, 2014 2:18 PM
Indeed we South Sudanese actually praying for peace, what are we fighting for? We shouldn't humiliate the Freedom which was fought for two decades whereby many lives were lost.

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