Rome peace talks inches resumption after lengthy deadlock

Rome peace talks inches resumption after lengthy deadlock
Minister of Presidential Affairs Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin (left) holds hands with Secretary-General of the Community of Sant’Egidio Paolo Impagliazzo (centre) and SSOMA’s Pagan Amum during a past Rome talk session (photo credit: courtesy)

The Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) is alleged to have resumed talks with the Non-Signatory South Sudan Opposition Group (NSSOG) in Rome after months of deadlock over the agenda of the meeting.

The spokesperson for the South Sudan United Front/Army SSUF/A, Garang Malual Deng, told The City Review that the government had sent a letter to the mediators on the resumption of negotiation.

He claimed that the government had accepted the resumption of the talks, adding that the non-signatories are also ready for the talks.

“The government has written to the mediators, saying that they are ready to go back for negotiations with non-signatory South Sudanese opposition groups,” Garang said.

He said that the documents have already been sent to the mediators, who will then fix the date for the resumption of the talks.

“They have informed us about the letter from the government, but they have not yet set the date,” he said.

However, efforts to reach Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Presidential Affairs Minister, who is the head of the government delegation to Rome, for comment were not successful.

Negotiations between both sides began in 2019 under the Community of Sant’Egidio.

However, efforts to reach inclusive peace failed to end violence in some parts of the country, despite a ceasefire signed in January 2020.

In November 2022, the transitional government suspended the peace talks with the Non-Signatories South Sudanese Opposition Group (NSSSOG) after accusing the opposition of lacking commitment to peace negotiations and preparing for violence.

However, President Salva Kiir Mayardit renewed his commitment to the peace process with the opposition after Pope Francis’s visit to the capital, Juba, in Fevruary.

But the parties to the Rome Peace talks have stuck to their hardline positions, even as the mediator waits and pushes to meet them on the sidelines to break the deadlock on the next step of talks.

On their return from Rome after a botched meeting, the NSSOG continued to hold their position for a roundtable discussion.