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South Sudan Holdout Groups Reiterate Commitment to Peace Talks

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The coalition of South Sudan’s armed and non-armed holdout groups have reiterated their commitment to the peace talks mediated by the Rome-based Sant’Egidio community.

The National Salvation Front (NAS) spokesperson, Suba Samuel Manase said the Rome peace talks offer the best opportunity for ending the ongoing civil wars in South Sudan.

“We saw the statement of the government from the media. It was addressed to the mediator. We have been preparing for resumption of peace talks. But now this is the decision of the government. What is clear and I want to tell our people, the South Sudanese, region, and international community that the allegations are unfounded. They are true. We are not planning for war. Instead, the opposite is true,” he explained.

Manase further accused the Juba government of delaying the resumption of peace talks.

Similarly, South Sudan United Front (SSUF) said it remains fully committed to peaceful dialogue aimed at restoring lasting peace and stability in the East African nation.

SSUF’s spokesperson, Garang Malual said government was not interested in ending war.

In a November 21 letter to the Secretary of the Sant’Egidio community, Presidential Affairs minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin said talks were suspended until further notice.

“While we have been preparing to engage in serious dialogue with the non-signatory South Sudan Opposition Group to bring lasting peace to the people of South Sudan, it has come to our attention that this group is using these talks to buy time as they prepare for war,” the letter read in part.

Marial also invited the secretary of the mediation team to Juba for further consultation on the way forward. The details of the consultation with the mediator remained unclear.

Critics of the Juba government have argued that the delay in the resumption of the talks was a strategy to frustrate the efforts of the mediation team and weaken the opposition while using it as a card to not implement the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.

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