South Sudan peace talks kick off in Naivasha

Warring parties in South Sudan have come to a consensus to put aside their arms and give dialogue a chance.

Addressing the press in Naivasha where the talks are ongoing, the government and the opposition exuded confidence in a lasting solution to the conflict that has displaced over 4 million people.

The two parties have since signed a declaration of recommitment to the cessation of hostilities that has also seen over 380,000 people lose their lives.

The declaration recommits the parties to the Rome process while agreeing to continue with political dialogue as part of the peace process meant to address the root cause of the conflict.

These discussions come after the parties had previously agreed and resolved 95 per cent of their differences in a truce that is being brokered by the Sant’Egidio community of Rome.

According to General Pagan Amum Okiech, the leader of the Real SPLM, they have made huge strides in the last three days of negotiations.

Amum said that they have since agreed to lay down their arms and engage in negotiations so as to end years of suffering and bloodshed.

“Though we come from different political affiliations, we are a united country and the parties are committed to resolving the problems facing it,” he said.

The senior army officer said that as the country marked 10 years of independence in a couple of months, the negotiation team was ready to give the Sudanese a reason to celebrate.

On his part, General Paul Malong Aswan leader of South Sudan United Front Army (SSUF/A) noted that all the parties had agreed that there was a problem affecting their country.

He pointed to the minerals in the country including oil as a point of difference adding all should agree to share the natural mineral.

“We are committed to this peace process which is meant to unite our country and we thank the Kenyan government which has stood by us throughout,” he said.

The government delegation led by Barnaba Marial Benjamin who is a special advisor to the President said that they were determined to leave Naivasha with something tangible.

He said that the team had the full mandate and backing of the government adding that there were high hopes for stability in the troubled country.

“Naivasha has a special place to the people of South Sudan and we are committed to bringing peace back to our people when we leave,” he said.


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