Church calls for resumption of Rome peace talks

Church calls for resumption of Rome peace talks
A group photo of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (photo credit: courtesy)

The Episcopal Church of South Sudan has called on the parties to the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of South Sudan to ratify the resumption of Saint’Egidio peace talks.

This call has come after the Church released a communique of the eleventh synod held at All Saints Cathedral from November 11 to November 14, 2021, in Juba. The synod was attended by 300 delegates from 60 ECSS Dioceses basically from the three houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity.

The Church held deliberations on various topics affecting the church and the country and conducted prayers for peace in the country.

“After three days of successful deliberations, we the bishops, clergy, and laity strongly urge all parties to the R-ARCSS to resume the Rome Peace Initiative,” read the statement.

The church also called for full implementation of the remaining parts of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan and the security arrangements.

The church further called for support to R-ARCSS from international friends of the nation to extend hands where help is needed for the full realisation of the peace process. The Church also called for peaceful coexistence among South Sudanese communities.

“We appreciate the parties to the Revitalised Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) for the progress made, but still urge them to expedite the implementation of the remaining parts, especially security arrangements,” the communique continued.

“We humbly request the guarantors to the R-ARCSS and friends of South Sudan to extend any support needed to enable the government to accelerate the process of graduation of unified forces in the training centres.”

The Church promised to be an instrument of peacebuilding and trauma healing within South Sudan and beyond its borders to the entire world.

Suspension reaffirmed

Last week, President Salva Kiir Mayardit maintained his position that the Saint’Egidio peace talks in Rome would remain suspended until the holdout groups showed political will to embrace the Cessation of Hostility Agreement (CoHA) signed in 2017.

Kiir accused the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) of continued instability and told the UN Security Council that he would not resume talks all alone till SSOMA let go of violence.

He also said that attacks on the Juba-Nimule Highway that claimed innocent lives were associated with NAS forces under the command of Thomas Cirilo.

”President Salva Kiir Mayardit told the UN delegation that he had put on hold the Saint’Egidio Rome Peace Initiative between SSOMA and the government of South Sudan because the group of NAS led by Thomas Cirilo kept attacking innocent people along the Juba-Nimule Road, which is completely unacceptable,” read the statement from the office of the President.

“He decided to put the talks on hold until there is political will from the holdout Opposition group to respect the ceasefire agreement. Then he would consider reversing the order for the peace talks to continue. “

Initial suspension

The peace talks were suspended by the president in August after noticeable attacks on the Juba-Nimule Highway.

The attacks have led to the killing of five people, among them two Catholic nuns on the Juba-Nimble road, and hardship in the delivery of humanitarian assistance within some areas of Central Equatoria State for fear of looting, burning and ambushes on aid convoys.

SSOMA has dismissed the accusations, claiming their hands were clean and they traded blame on the government for reluctance in the implementation of the agreement.