AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Negotiations in Nairobi: Hope for peace

Tuesday, 28 May 2024 civil war   peace  

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - Good governance, more justice and security and economic development. These issues are at the heart of ongoing peace talks in Nairobi, Kenya, between the government of South Sudan and the groups that did not sign the 2018 peace agreement. The talks, which began on May 9, 2024, are called “Tumaini” (“Hope” in Swahili) and are being mediated by former Kenyan army chief Lazarus Sumbeiywo. South Sudan was formed in 2011 after a civil war that led to its secession from Sudan. Two years after independence in December 2013, a bloody civil war broke out again, which was partially ended by the 2018 peace agreement. However, some opposition rebels did not abide by the 2018 agreement that ended the civil war in which 400,000 people died and millions were displaced; Instability therefore continues to affect several areas of the country. An 11-point agreement was signed on May 16, laying the foundation for the parties' commitment to dialogue, cessation of hostilities and the realization of a non-violent future in South Sudan. In particular, the parties reject violence as a means of resolving disputes and call on all citizens of South Sudan to engage in constructive dialogue and promote an environment in which claims can be addressed peacefully. The negotiating parties also agreed to open civil and political space and allow citizens to participate in peaceful political processes, as well as to guarantee freedom of expression, assembly and association. Kenya's Foreign Ministry said the agreement was a "first milestone" in ongoing talks in which the parties to the conflict committed to ending violence and hostilities. President Salva Kiir expressed confidence about the peace talks in Nairobi, citing the historic relations between Juba and Nairobi. "The Kenyan-led Nairobi peace process helped negotiate the comprehensive peace agreement that ended Africa's longest conflict," Kiir stressed, recalling the long war for independence in South Sudan. “This peace led to the independence of the Republic of South Sudan at the end of the transition period in 2011. I am confident that current efforts will lead to a similar outcome as the country prepares for this year’s general elections.” (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 28/5/2024)