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Government slams opposition hold groups over delaying Rome talks

By Simon Deng

The transitional government has claimed that Rome peace talks with opposition hold-out groups are not progressing because the latter are dragging feet over the agenda.

 “We had agreed earlier on the agenda but the hold-out groups are every now and then coming up with new agenda, they have now come up with roundtable conference. We are after the old agenda which was agreed so that we continue negotiating,” said Michael Makuei Lueth the minister of information and communication during press conference held in Juba on Friday.

He said the government is not responsible for the delay as it is ever ready for the talks once they commence. “

In July 2023, Barnaba Marial Benjamin the minister for presidential affairs praised the role played by the mediator Saint Egidio Community in addressing grievances of all stakeholders.

He added that the mediators have complemented government’s determination in achieving lasting peace and stability across the country.

The transitional government started peace negotiation with hold-out groups such as National Salvation Front (NAS) led by former deputy head of logistics in the South Sudan People’s Defense Force in November 2019.  The other parties include Real -SPLM led by former secretary general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Pagan Amum Okech and South Sudan United Front under former Chief of Defense Force of the South Sudan People’s Defense Force, Paul Malong Awan.

Despite the government and the opposition parties signing cessation of hostilities and declaration of principles in late 2019, the National Salvation Front is accused by the government of continuing to violate the cessation of hostilities agreement in especially Central Equatoria State where it operates.

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