February 13, 2018 (JUBA) – South Sudanese government has rejected a demand by a coalition of opposition forces asking Juba to abandon continuing to be part, as a member-state, of the summits and meetings of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which mediates the ongoing process to achieve peace in the country.
Presidential adviser on security affairs said on Tuesday that his government participates in the IGAD summits and meetings on the basis of being a member state, and rejected the demand of the opposition.
“That demand is a detraction from addressing real matters and those making it one of their demands should forget it. It will not happen. The government will not accept because it participates in the meetings and summits of the IGAD as a member state,” said Tut Kew Gatluak.
The presidential aide was reacting to a statement issued by a coalition of opposition calling on the continental, regional and international community to not allow the government participates in discussions and summits where matters related to the South Sudanese conflict are discussed without representatives of the opposition.
The participation of the government, according to the opposition, leads to influence the decisions taken by the regional bloc on the conflict and the peace process.
“South Sudan as an IGAD member should recuse itself from the mediation on South Sudan conflict. The government of South Sudan is a partner in the peace process has demonstrated lack of seriousness and political will to negotiate in good faith. This is demonstrated by its refusal to sign a declaration of principle that was jointly discussed and signed by other stakeholders to revitalization process. The government continues its attack on opposition positions throughout the country the latest of which is Nyatot in Nasir today (yesterday on Monday”), the opposition groups said in a joined statement released to the public on Monday.
The statement further demanded the immediate investigation of all ceasefire violations and review the status of the cessation of hostilities agreement. In addition, it demands the government to sign the declaration of principle as the basis of negotiation, and to withdraw its forces from all the positions it captured from the opposition after the entry into force of the CoH agreement.