Resuming Peace Talks Key Agenda in South Sudan's Meeting with Rome-based Catholic Entity

President Salva Kiir Mayardit with members of the delegation from the Sant’Egidio community, led by its Secretary-General, Dr. Paolo Impagliazzo and Professor Andrea Bartholi. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The leadership of the Rome-based lay Catholic association dedicated to the provision of social services and arbitrating conflicts, Sant’Egidio Community, has met with South Sudan’s President over the resumption of suspended Peace Talks. 

A Thursday, December 8 report by Sudan Tribune confirms the meeting between a delegation from the Sant’Egidio Community and President Salva Kiir Mayardit in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.

“President Salva Kiir Mayardit met with a delegation of the Sant’Egidio Community to discuss the resumption of Rome peace talks between the Government and the hold-out group dubbed South Sudan Opposition Alliance, SSOMA,” South Sudan’s Minister for Presidential Affairs, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin has been quoted as saying.

The South Sudanese Minister adds in reference to the December 8 deliberations, “The delegation discussed the importance of political dialogue between the government and the hold-out groups to end the violence.” 

During the meeting, Dr. Marial says, President Kiir “lauded the community of Sant'egidio for their commitment to support the peace process and bringing together both sides to agree on an inclusive peace process in South Sudan.” 


On their part, Sant'egidio Sant'egidio representatives at the meeting reportedly reiterated their commitment “to bring peace and stability to Africa’s youngest nation.”

“We will continue mediating between the government and holdout groups in order to find an amicable solution for the sake of the South Sudanese people,” the Secretary General of Sant'egidio Community, Dr. Paolo Impagliazzo, has been quoted as saying.

Dr. Paolo Impagliazzo adds, “We are committed to bringing the two sides closer for common understanding to restore peace and stability in South Sudan.” 

In a November 24 Sudan Tribune report, South Sudan’s government announced the “suspension of its participation in the Rome peace talks,” accusing the Non-Signatories South Sudanese Opposition Groups (NSSSOG) of “lacking commitment”.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary General of Sant’Egidio Community, South Sudan’s Presidential Affairs Minister accused a section of the opposition groups of being keen to “prepare for war” rather than “lasting peace”.

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“While we have been preparing to engage in serious dialogue with the non-signatory South Sudan opposition groups to bring lasting peace to the people of South Sudan, it has come to our attention that this group is using these talks to buy time as they prepare for war,” Dr. Marial was quoted as saying. 

On December 2, a Catholic missionary Nun ministering in South Sudan said the recent suspension of South Sudanese government’s participation in the Rome peace talks does not mean that the “door for peace” in the East-Central African nation is permanently closed.

In an interview with ACI Africa, Sr. Elena Balatti also criticized the government’s decision to suspend participation in the peace talks and described the move as “a blow to the negotiations”.

“Let the government have a major responsibility to look for what will unite them with the non-signatory groups and all the parties,” the member of the Comboni Missionary Sisters (CMS) said.

The Italian-born Catholic Missionary Nun who coordinates the department of Integral Human Development (Caritas) in South Sudan’s Malakal Diocese added, “We pray for the government’s genuine recommitment to the Rome peace talks to bring lasting peace and stability to the people of South Sudan.”