Government-SSOMA talks resume in Rome

Government-SSOMA talks resume in Rome
SSOMA leader Paul Malong and President Salva Kiir in a past event. Their parties have received defectors from other political factions. [Photo: Courtesy]

South Sudanese peace talks between the government and South Sudan Opposition Movements’ Alliance (SSOMA) resumed on Friday, July 16, in Rome.

A delegation that was led by the Minister of Presidential Affairs Dr Barnaba Marial flew to Rome to engage in SSOMA leaders Pagan Amum and Paul Malong in the peace talks.

Saint’Egidio Secretary-General Paolo Impagliazzo opened the discussion which is expected to formalise a deal in which Mr Amum and Mr Malong will support the 2018 peace deal.

Addressing on Friday from Rome, Dr Barnaba expressed confidence over the progress of the peace talks  

 “Today, we will continue with the discussions with SSOMA led by Pagan Amum and Paul Malong based on the declaration of principles that we had signed in Naivasha [Kenya] in March this year,” said Dr Marial.

Dr Barnaba said they expect the talks to be smooth, and that the government delegation under the direction of President Salva Kiir had gone there with an open mind; with all the options on the table.

The peace talk negotiation was supposed to restart last week, however, due to the government’s request to celebrate the 10th Independence Day, the peace mediators had to reschedule it.

The Sant’Egidio Catholic community-based in Rome initiated the mediation between the government and the South Sudan Opposition Alliance or SSOMA in November 2019.

The mediation is aimed at supporting an inclusive peace agreement in South Sudan by persuading the holdout groups to join the revitalised peace deal signed in September 2018.

Dr Barnaba said the government is confident that the peace agreement being implemented to bring peace to the people of South Sudan will be a success, that peace mediators to join to give constructive feedback on how to iron out grey areas on the deal.