Lay Catholic Association Resumes South Sudan Peace Talks in Rome

Participants at the South Sudan peace talks that resumed Monday, November 9 mediated by the Community of Sant’Egidio.

The Rome-based Catholic lay association dedicated to the provision of social services and arbitrating conflicts has resumed South Sudan peace talks, South Sudan’s Radio Tamazuj reported November 10

Mediated by the Community of Sant’Egidio, the talks that resumed Monday, November 9 bring together representatives from the South Sudanese government and the group of opposition leaders holding out from the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

Representatives of South Sudan Opposition Alliance Movement (SSOMA) and that of the Transitional Revitalized Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) are presently in Italy, Rome.

SSOMA group comprising the National Salvation Front (NAS), South Sudan United Front (SSUF), the Real Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (R-SPLM), the United Democratic Revolutionary Movement/Army (UDRM/A), National Democratic Movement-Patriotic Front (NDM-PF), and South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) split into two factions last October.

Although the SSOMA faction led by NAS leader General Thomas Cirillo Swaka blamed the government in Juba for repeated violations and attacks on their positions, the faction has been reported to have recommitted to the cessation of hostilities agreement signed during the Rome Declaration earlier this year.


While addressing the opening of the Ceasefire and Transitional Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) workshop in Rome on Tuesday, November 10, SSOMA’s Thomas Tut Doap who also doubles as the deputy chairman of (UDRM/A) said that the violations by the government have had enormous negative ramifications upon the civilian population, the November 10 report indicates.

“This declaration has been violated so many times that we have lost count on the numbers of violations by our partner,” Mr. Doap said, and added, “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," the opposition leader explained.

UDRM/A’s deputy leader reiterated that SSOMA's participation in the Rome workshop affirms a commitment to pursuing a lasting and sustainable peace through addressing the root causes of the protracted conflict in South Sudan.

Expressing optimism in the process, the opposition official further said, “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.”

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SSOMA and the South Sudanese government 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.

The Thomas Cirillo SSOMA-led faction comprises the leaders of four armed movements and political parties, which include NAS, SSNMC, NDM/PF, and UDRM/A.

SSOMA split over differences in October after the South Sudan National Democratic Alliance (SSNDA) of Thomas Cirillo, suspended the membership of General Paul 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 General Malong’s suspension, saying the move violated the regulations of the alliance. Pagan and Malong's parties are not part of the ongoing Rome talks.