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Activist slams government, non-signatories over stalled Rome talks

The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) has blamed both the government and the hold-out groups under the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) for failing to make serious progress during the recent peace talks in Rome.

“It is disturbing to see our political elite offering no chance of respecting Pope Francis and other Christian faith leaders’ efforts for praying for peace in South Sudan. Pope Francis kissed their feet and visited South Sudan all for the sake of ensuring that peace and political stability prevail for the citizens,” Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director for CEPO said in a statement issued in Juba on Sunday.

The parties failed to make tangible progress at the peace talks mediated by the Catholic community of Saint Egidio .

The hold-out opposition demanded roundtable conference to discuss the root causes of the conflict. The conference would be inclusive for all parties and civil society groups.

 “Shifting of goal posts from time- to -time around the Rome peace talks is risky and it demonstrates lack of political maturity and discipline in settling political differences,” Yakani said.

The community of Saint Egidio last week adjourned the talks till May 8th.

The government delegation headed by Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the minister of presidential affairs called for discussion to be centered on issues to do with security sector reforms, governance, economic and social issues and justice.

Yakani said the parties on the mediation table have demonstrated lack of compromise on major issues.

The Rome peace talks which commenced in December 2019 have only seen the parties sign the cessation of hostilities agreement, but critical issues on grievances of all parties are still pending.

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