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South Sudan’s Opposition Parties Announce Recommitment to Cessation of Hostilities Pact

South Sudan’s Opposition Parties signing the declaration to recommit to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) at a meeting in the Kenyan town of Naivasha.

Opposition parties in South Sudan’s protracted conflict have announced their intention to recommit to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed in December 2017.

In a joint declaration issued Monday, March 8, the representatives of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU) and South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) agree to recommit to CoHA, the Rome Declaration and the Rome Resolution, which would constitute the basis for subsequent political dialogue.

In the declaration, Hon. Barnaba Marial Benjamin is representing R-TGONU while SSOMA is represented by Hon. Pagan Amum Okiech (Real SPLM) and General Paul Malong Awan Anei (SSUF/A).

These representatives signed the six-point declaration during the talks mediated by the Community of Sant’Egidio in the Kenyan town of Naivasha.

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In the document, the parties “recommit to respect and adhere to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) of 21 December 2017 and the Rome Declaration of 12 January 2020 as well as the Rome Resolution of 13 February 2020.”

They further agree to “abstain from any form of violence against civilians including sexual and gender-based violence and duly investigate in a timely manner and hold those responsible to account.”

“We agreed to grant unhindered and unconditional access to humanitarian assistance to all areas in the Republic of South Sudan,” the parties say in the March 8 declaration.

The representatives of the parties in conflict further pledge to “recommit to the inclusion of SSOMA into Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) structures with the support of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and international partners.”

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They also intend to “establish a channel of communication between SSOMA and CTSAMVM up to the time of its full inclusion into the CTSAMVM structures, and guarantee unfettered access for CTSAMVM to monitor and verify compliance with CoHA.” 

The representatives also agree to “continue the political dialogue as part of the ongoing peace process to address concerns and the root causes of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan to achieve a just, all-inclusive and sustainable peace.”

Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, Hon. Marial described the declaration as a “great step forward” adding, “The peace process in Naivasha, Kenya has started at a very good and successful speed.”

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“Sant'Egidio has negotiated throughout the world nearly 18 conflicts successfully. We honestly believe Sant'Egidio will also succeed to help the people of the Republic of South Sudan to have peace,” Hon. Marial said.

He also expressed his appreciation to the government of Kenya for accepting to play host to the representatives of the parties in South Sudan conflict saying, “I also take this opportunity to thank the Kenyan government for hosting this great meeting that has started in a robust manner.”