Southern Sudan government and opposition factions are reaching truce

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS)

The South Sudan government and opposition factions announced an agreement to a ceasefire from Wednesday, after peace talks in Rome in the wake of a previous peace agreement that the conflicting parties had not adhered to.

Members of the Southern Sudan Opposition Alliance and a government envoy announced on Sunday signing a document confirming the adherence to the peace agreement signed in December 2017 in order to “avoid further armed confrontations in the country.”

The young country, which became independent from Sudan in 2011, descended into a civil war in late 2013 after its president, Salva Kiir, accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of planning a coup against him.

The conflict has killed about 380,000 people and displaced nearly four million people.

A member of the coalition command, Pagan Amum Okeich, regretted that peace had not yet been achieved.

He told reporters, “We agreed to start this dialogue in order to reach comprehensive solutions to the crisis,” stressing that these solutions will include all parties.

The implementation of an agreement that was supposed to enter into force in September stipulating the formation of CARE and Machar was a transitional national unity government due to continuing differences.

A ceasefire was reached on Sunday after mediation by the Catholic “St. Egidio” organization linked to the Vatican.

The organization participates in diplomatic efforts to achieve peace, and has contributed to ensuring the movement of asylum seekers from conflict areas, especially Syria, to Europe.

Amum and head of the government delegation, Barnabas Mariel Benjamin, praised the efforts made by Pope Francis to push for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Sudan.

Pope Francis and Bishop of Canterbury Justin Welby announced on 13 November that they would go together to South Sudan if the national unity government was able to secure peace by mid-February.

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