Peace monitor appeals for resumption of Rome peace talks

Peace monitor appeals for resumption of Rome peace talks
Lt Gen Asrat Denero Amad, chairperson of the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) reads speech during the opening of the technical meeting yesterday. [Photo credit: CTSAMVM]

The ceasefire monitoring body urged the parties to the Rome peace talks to plan a resumption of dialogue as the country prepares to receive Pope Francis next month.

Lt Gen Asrat Denero Amad, the chairperson of the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM), made the appeal during remarks at the CTSAMVM technical meeting on Thursday in Juba.

“CTSAMVM appeals to the R-TGoNU and SSOMA to resume the Rome peace process and initiate the integration of National Monitors into CTSAMVM structures,” he appealed.

He said since the last Ceasefire Transitional Committee, there have been several attacks alleged to have been carried out by the NAS forces in Central Equatoria.

Denero said the body is investigating the incidents and will soon make its findings public.

A delegation comprising the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby of the United Kingdom, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland is expected to visit Juba from February 3–5, 2023.

In a letter dated November 21, sent to the community of Sant’Egidio, which mediates the peace process, the government terminated the peace negotiations with the holdout groups, accusing their leaders of buying time.

The National Salvation Front (NAS), led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo, the Real SPLM, led by Pagan Amum, and the South Sudan United Front (SSUF/A), led by Gen. Paul Malong, are among the opposition groups that have come together under the umbrella of the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA).

However, in his New Year message to the citizens, President Salva Kiir had promised to make 2023 a year of peace, reconciliation, and development.

 He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to achieving inclusive peace to put an end to the current humanitarian crisis through sincere dialogue with opposition groups that are not currently involved in the peace process.

Yielding to reconciliation

According to Kiir, the country’s current problems could only be resolved through genuine reconciliation and forgiveness.

Also, during the sixth Governors’ Forum last year, Kiir said his administration would return to the negotiating table with the Non-Signatories South Sudanese Opposition Groups (NSSSOG) if they respected the ceasefire.

“We have not closed the doors for future talks with this group; we have invited the General Secretary of “Sant’Egidio to Juba to hear our concern with them.”

“I have called off the Rome talks until we get a positive response from the rebels (the holdout group),” Kiir said.

He stated that the Rome Peace Talks would only continue if the holdout group abstained from violence and propaganda.

Kiir added that the decision to suspend the talks had been made hastily in the wake of a highway ambush on the Juba-Nimule Road that left dozens of civilians dead and scores more injured.