The Rome talks, mediated by the Community of Sant’Egidio, between the government and the holdout opposition group, South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance, SSOMA-Thomas Cirillo faction resumed on Monday.
The SSOMA group which comprises of the National Salvation Front (NAS), South Sudan United Front (SSUF), the Real Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (R-SPLM), the United Democratic Revolutionary Movement, National Democratic Movement-Patriotic Front (NDM-PF), and South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) split into two factions last October.
During the opening session, the SSOMA faction led by the National Salvation Front (NAS) leader General Thomas Cirillo Swaka faction recommitted to the cessation of hostilities agreement signed during the Rome Declaration earlier this year and blamed the government in Juba for repeated violations and attacks on their positions.
SSOMA’s Thomas Tut Doap, who also doubles as the deputy chairman of the United Democratic Revolutionary Movement/Army (UDRM/A), while addressing the opening of the Ceasefire and Transitional Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) workshop in Rome yesterday said the violations by the government have had enormous negative ramifications upon the civilian population.
“Unfortunately, this declaration has been violated so many times that we have lost count on the numbers of violations by our partner. These grave violations have had enormous negative ramifications upon the civilian population in the country. It has manifested its negative impact in mass killings, rapes, looting, burning of villages, and massive displacement of the civil population by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, and forcing millions to seek refuge in the neighboring countries. It has also resulted in hundreds of thousands of lives lost and the destruction of the social fabric of the country,” Doap said.
He reiterated that SSOMA’s participation in the workshop affirms a commitment to pursuing a lasting and sustainable peace through addressing the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan.
“Above all, as we have already stated, we believe this workshop is the start of building the bridge of trust between SSOMA and the R-TGoNU marking the beginning of addressing the root causes of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan,” the opposition official added.
SSOMA and the government of the Republic of South Sudan signed the Rome Declaration early this year recommitting both parties to adhere to the cessation of hostilities with the sole objective of creating a conducive and healthy environment for enabling the political process to proceed smoothly.
Doap said his alliance’s participation in the CTSAMVM workshop is a necessity but must not be misconstrued as an endorsement of the R-ARCSS.
He noted, “We in SSOMA are committed to the Cessation of Hostilities agreement. Unfortunately, our adherence to the agreement was taken for granted as countless violations occurred and our forces and bases were and are being attacked or subjected to constant threat.”
According to Doap, “SSOMA believes that the military path is not a solution to resolving the remarkable social, political, and economic ills confronting our country. Therefore, as we gather here today, it is incumbent upon us the SSOMA and R-TGoNU to recommit ourselves to building the shattered confidence that was natured by the Rome Declaration and particularly the solemn commitment to the CoHA. It is our hope that this workshop will narrow the gap of mistrust and usher in a clear and concise path and methodology for a recommitment to the full compliance to CoHA.”
The SSOMA representative said that his outfit is ready to embrace and apply accountability and transparency in future violations.
“Learning our lessons from the ongoing violations, mistrust, and lack of political will, we in SSOMA are fully ready and willing to embrace and apply accountability and transparency to any future violations,” According to Doap. “We in SSOMA would like to reiterate our commitment and respect for the CoHA and equally requesting the government of the Republic of South Sudan to reciprocate their commitment by summoning the political will to comply with the CoHA agreement.”
The Thomas Cirillo SSOMA led faction comprises the leaders of four armed movements and political parties, namely the National Salvation Front (NAS), the South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC), the National Democratic Movement Patriotic Front (NDM/PF), and the United Democratic Revolutionary Movement/Army (UDRA).
SSOMA split over differences in October after the South Sudan National Democratic Alliance (SSNDA) of Thomas Cirillo, suspended the membership of Malong’s SSUF from SSOMA. Pagan Amum, head of the Real Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (R-SPLM) and member of the SSOMA leadership council, rejected Malong’s suspension saying the move violates the regulations of the alliance. Pagan and Malong’s parties are not part of the talks.
Source: Radio Tamazuj