Kenya Assumes Mediation Role in South Sudan Peace Talks

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
2 Min Read
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Kenya has taken up the role of mediator in peace talks between the government of South Sudan and groups that did not sign the 2018 peace agreement. This move comes after Kenya’s President William Ruto accepted the request from South Sudan President Salva Kiir to oversee the Rome process initiated by the lay Catholic association, Community of Sant’ Egidio.

President Ruto expressed his commitment to facilitating the peace talks, stating, “I accepted the request of my brother President Salva Kiir to host the remaining phase of the peace talks that have been going on between the government of South Sudan and the holdout opposition parties.” He further mentioned that Kenya is making the necessary arrangements to transfer the peace process to Nairobi.

The Rome process, initially initiated by Sant’ Egidio, encountered a setback, prompting President Kiir to request Kenya’s intervention. President Ruto received a list of government delegates from President Kiir in Nairobi, and discussions were held during the Italy-Africa Summit in Rome.

While the two parties were expected to return to the negotiating table in May 2023, following the withdrawal of the government’s delegation, it did not materialize. In December 2023, President Kiir moved the talks to Kenya.

However, there are reported misgivings within the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (Ssoma), with some members expressing discomfort with Kenya as the mediator. Cirino Hiteng, a member of the Real-SPLM, acknowledged the uncertainty but highlighted the importance of not turning down peace talks. Pagan Amum, the leader of Ssoma, expressed skepticism about the talks being shifted to Nairobi, emphasizing that addressing the root causes of the conflict was a point of contention with Juba.

As Kenya assumes this pivotal mediation role, the region watches closely for developments in the peace process, and the success of these talks could enhance President Ruto’s standing as a peace envoy in the African diplomatic landscape.


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