South Sudan seeks change of peace talk venue

March  2018 (JUBA)- South Sudanese government is seeking a change of venue for peace talks, citing the political situation in neighbouring Ethiopia which has been hosting the talks since the conflict broke out in 2013.

Presidential adviser on diplomatic affairs and the head of the government negotiating team said his country has hoped the next round of peace talks would resume as per schedules but the political situation in host country has pushed the time to allow certain internal arrangements and processes to be completed.

“Because of the necessity to accelerate discussions we feel it would be prudent if the IGAD member countries accept the talks to resume and if the current situation in Ethiopia requires time, we feel another one of the IGAD member countries should host the talks until when the situation in Ethiopia allows”, said Nhial Deng Nhial in an interview with media houses on Monday when reached to comment on whether talks would remain on hold until the current political situation in Ethiopia addressed and what is the alternative they are considering to end the war.

Last February, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn abruptly resigned to pave the way for political reforms in the country following months of protests by the two largest ethnic groups in Ethiopia, the Amhara and Oromo.

After his resignation, the Ethiopian government declared a six-month nationwide state of emergency, but the situation remains stable and under control as the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front is still weighing best solution to ensure a lasting political solution.

The presidential aide did not choose a particular country in the region as a prefered place.

“ It is for the mediation team to decide. What we want is a place where the negotiations can resume,” he said.

In a related development, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said the government wants the venue of peace talks to be changed to another place because of the political situation in Ethiopia.

Lueth preferred Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda as some of the places in the region where talks could be moved. He rejected Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan because of security and political situation.

On 16 February, the peace revitalization process was suspended after the failure of the parties to reach an agreement over security, constitutional and governance matters. However, the mediators said the process would resume within three weeks, maximum.

First Published by Sudan Tribune

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