News / Africa

South Sudan Peace Talks Hit New Obstacle

Lucy PoniPhilip Aleu

The latest round of peace talks for South Sudan stumbled into a third day Wednesday, with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) scolding the opposition for boycotting the talks after changing its position on who should take part in them.

In a statement released late Tuesday, the IGAD special envoys for South Sudan said the opposition side failed to attend the second day of talks, even though they had "repeatedly assured the mediation of their commitment 
to the inclusive, multi-stakeholder roundtable peace process and the modalities for comprehensive talks."

IGAD called on the opposition to "honor its commitment to resolve the crisis" and said it expects its negotiators "to immediately return to and fully participate in the multi-stakeholder negotiations." 

The fifth round of talks to end nearly eight months of conflict in South Sudan got under way on Monday after a break of more than a month.

IGAD adjourned the previous round after the opposition failed to show up on the opening day. That time, the opposition said their demands that stakeholder groups that have fled the country or are based outside Juba be allowed to take part in the talks, had fallen on deaf ears.

This time, the opposition said it was boycotting the talks because they wanted them to be between only the two main parties to the conflict.

Opposition 'not against inclusivity'

Opposition spokesman Mabior Garang said his side is "not against inclusivity" but first wants to have "direct negotiations with the government to see how we can stop this war so that we can have a more conducive environment in which what the stakeholders want to be done, can be done."

"We are still at the stage of stopping the war,” not trying to hammer out what a transitional government for South Sudan would look like, he said.

Mr. Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar agreed to set up a transitional government within 60 days when they met in Addis Ababa in June. The deadline for setting up the transitional government falls this week.

Mabior said some of the parties to the talks were more focussed on setting up a transitional government by the deadline than on restoring peace in South Sudan.

Opposition creating confusion

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said the opposition has created confusion by backtracking on its commitment to take part in multi-party talks.

“It was their position that has led the mediators into pressuring the government to accept that all other stakeholders had to be included in the talks. They are now coming back to our position," he said, noting that when the talks began in January, the government wanted them to be bilateral -- between itself and the opposition.

Ateny said the government changed its tune when it was accused of obstructing the peace process.

"We were seen as not being flexible and not serious about bringing peace to South Sudan. The rebels were telling the whole world that the government was not serious. Now the world is seeing them, they are the ones who are not serious,” Ateny said.

Mabior said the opposition is "still fully committed to the peace process."

"There is no other way that we envision being victorious in this war except through a peace process," he said.

Ateny said Mr. Kiir has instructed the government team in Addis Ababa not to return to Juba  without a peace deal.

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Comments
     
by: Kim Lony Gatluak from: USA
August 07, 2014 6:22 AM
President salva kiir dislike peace to bring in south sudan
but our leader Dr Riek Machar Teny stand for peace to come in south sudan

by: Lisa from: Tx
August 07, 2014 12:58 AM
South Sudan government accusestion and blame will not help to bring peace in the country. We all know very well that presendent kiir, started all this mess and thousand of innocent die every day, if you look at the opposition clearly their demand is first for the government and the opposition to find a common ground to stop the fighting between the two groups. It is not easy when you talk peace and your own people being killed, let us not pretend that the government want peace. The presendent blame Dr riek some days ago that he can't control his forces which is not true, the people who are fighting the government is the government army itself, if it was Dr riek problem with the rebel then let the people call for vote instead of destroying lifes of millions of people for nothing. Can we have commonsense here towords the end of this year its the end of the presendent term in the office if that is the case instead of playing blame game IGAD have to start a new chapter for change, call off the so-call formation of the interim government and work for democratic change. By asking the citizens of south Sudan to vote for whom they think will help with the development of the country. Well the current presendent have no goal for his country to move forward. Fact look at the pot holes at the airport second hospital, schools even government building looks creep because its all where devil works. the whole country look sad and worry just because of one perston. But believe me God is alive, he want every south sudanese to ask for mercy and forgiveness then peace will come. For the people who are in love with killing innocent people their days are numbered. I support Dr riek until die he is the only man who will lead us to peace and freedom. For people who hate Dr riek ask yourself why he ask for peace between SPDF and SPLM since 2002. And why the country got separated from the north. Com'on you idiots he call for south sudanese to be free from the north. Hate me or like me am for peace and commonsense.

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