We’re not interested in any other talk – Kiir

We’re not interested in any other talk – Kiir
President Salva Kiir.

Kicker: President Kiir said the government is fully committed to the Rome Peace Talks adding that no other negotiations will be listened to other than what is on the table

The government will not engage in another round of fresh talks with non-signatories to the peace agreement, President Salva Kiir has said.

Instead, Kiir said the government will continue pursuing the Rome Peace Talks in Italy.

He, however, said that the door is shut for another ‘round table’ as had been proposed by the holdout group.

Parties to the Rome Peace Talks failed to reach any meaningful agreement after a four-day discussion in Italy last week.

There was conflicting information coming from Rome, with the government saying that the non-signatories to the peace agreement had asked for more time for consultation. However, the holdout group said in a press statement that it was indeed the government representatives in Rome, who had requested more time to consult with Juba.

“After lengthy deliberations on the agenda, the government delegation requested an adjournment for consultations.” “Upon this request, the Community of Sant’Egidio adjourned the meeting to resume on March 8, 2023,” Pagan Amum Okiech, Chairman of Real-SPLM and NSSOG Official Spokesperson, said in a statement last week.

Last Friday, government spokesperson Michael Makuei, expressed that the disagreements surround the opposition group’s refusal to recognize the road ahead.

He said that the government disagreed with the idea of a roundtable conference, citing that they would only stick to the Rome Peace Agreement.

“We are saying no!” he said.

“We are not ready for any further negotiations on the period, and this road map is what will take us as far as the election,” Makuei said.

Meanwhile, President Kiir, while addressing the opening session of the parliament on Monday, said there is no room for fresh negotiations or demand adding that the only exercise the government will engage in is the initial talks.

“Anything outside of previous talks would be considered a new initiative and counter-productive to the quest for inclusive peace in South Sudan,” Kiir said.

President Kiir also added that although the government and holdout group failed to reach an agreement during the last talks, his administration would remain committed to ensuring that the Rome Peace Talks yield fruit.

“The government will pursue these talks with the non-signatories, the South Sudan Opposition Group, to build on what was achieved in previous negotiations and within the confines of the original intention of the Rome Peace Initiative,” he said.

Even though he expressed reservations at the slow pace of the talks, the president said that the fact that the holdout groups agreed to come to the table indicated a positive step being made in the search for lasting peace.

“The talks with the non-signatories from the South Sudan opposition group resumed with no noticeable progress achieved in this round. But it was important that the two parties meet for the first time after 21 months.

Barnaba Marial Bejamin, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and the head of government delegates to the Rome peace talks, expressed government commitment to the talks but disagreed with the idea of fresh roundtable talks.

“The talks were cordial, and the government insisted that the agenda should be relevant to where the talks were stopped in 2021 so that we (parties) can take off and make sure the Rome peace talks are progressing well,” Marial said.

He then referred to the 2021 agenda, hoping that it would lead to a smooth process of the talks. “The early agenda of 2021 indicates that the peace talks are moving forward positively and will result in long-term peace in South Sudan,” he said.

However, as part of the 2018 security arrangements implementation, the 2021 deal in Naivasha, Kenya, was to co-opt opposition groups into the ceasefire monitoring body.

Big quote

“Anything outside of previous talks would be considered a new initiative and counter-productive to the quest for inclusive peace in South Sudan,” Salva Kiir.