Malong reaffirms commitment to Rome Talks

Malong reaffirms commitment to Rome Talks
Former General Chief of Staff and the leader of SSUF/A Gen. Paul Malong in a past interview (photo credit: Citizen TV)

The South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A), led by Gen. Paul Malong Awan, has reaffirmed its commitment to Rome and talks with the government under the auspices of the Sant’Egidio Community. 

In a statement shared on social media, the Secretary of Information Communication Technology and SSUF/A official spokesperson, Garang Malual Deng Yaak, said the Rome Peace Talks were the only way of stopping the conflict in the country.

“We, therefore, remain committed to the Rome peace talks as one of the avenues to the settlement of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.”

He warned the parties to the Sant’Egidio talks against engaging in propaganda, arguing that such would derail the much-needed peace. 

 “We are certain, however long it may take, that a free, peaceful, and prosperous South Sudan is achievable,” he added.

Alleged attacks

In February, the Deputy Military Spokesperson of South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A), Philip Deng Kuol Nguot, said recurrent attacks on their military bases across the country could affect the Rome Peace Talks.

He called upon the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the community of Sant’Egidio to investigate alleged attacks on their forces.

“SSUF/A immediately calls upon the regional blocs, the AU, IGAD and the international community, particularly the community of Sant’Egidio, to separately investigate these massive assaults on our forces by government troops and hold those responsible for these malicious attacks accountable,” he said.

“We remind the South Sudanese societies within the country or in the diaspora that SSUF/A is committed to the ongoing Rome initiative meant to find an amicable solution to war-torn South Sudan.”

In response, the spokesperson of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), Maj Gen Lul Ruai Koang, dismissed the allegations in an earlier interview with The City Review, saying there were no such attacks in Rumbek Central County in Lakes State.

Gov’t delegation ready

Early in February, the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said they were only waiting for the date to be communicated by the Community of Sant’Egidio for the resumption of talks.

 “The President assured the Secretary-General and his delegation that the government of the Republic of South Sudan is ready to resume those peace talks, and has already appointed me as the head of that government delegation to go for those talks,” Dr Barnaba said.

 “The Secretary-General was appreciative and praised the President for his great love for peace for this country.” The Secretary-General assured the President [that] they would be organising the days for the meeting between the government and SSOMA. It will be sometime in February here, “he concluded.

In December 2021, the parties agreed to include the South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A) of Gen. Paul Malong Awan and the Real SPLM led by Pagan Amum in ceasefire monitoring mechanisms, but the agreement has not materialised.