South Sudan: New Mediation Begins Under the Auspices of Kenya

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A new mediation process was launched on Thursday, May 9th, 2024, in Nairobi, Kenya, concerning South Sudan. At the negotiation table are the South Sudanese government and non-signatory rebel groups to the 2018 peace agreement that ended five years of civil war. Since then, the agreement has been slow to materialize, with the country still being rocked by armed conflicts and facing a deep economic and humanitarian crisis.

The non-signatory groups denounced a peace agreement that failed to address the root causes of the conflict. Mediation with the government has been ongoing since 2019, under the auspices of the Catholic association Sant’Egidio. However, in 2022, Juba accused the rebels of “buying time to prepare for war.” Dialogue came to a standstill. In December, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir asked Kenya to take over.

The President of South Sudan, who traveled to Nairobi on Thursday, expresses readiness for mediation: “South Sudan is ready to negotiate in good faith and with an open mind. We hope that non-signatory opposition groups share the same convictions and desire for peace for South Sudan.”

Pagan Amum, one of the leaders of these non-signatory groups, shook hands with Salva Kiir after speaking. Pagan Amum denounced a South Sudan “threatened with sinking into chaos.” He emphasized the need for talks: “We are the mothers and fathers of this new nation. Our historical task is to lay its foundations. To achieve this, we must dialogue, be positive, and overcome the hatred that has filled our hearts. I believe this is our last opportunity, and we must take it seriously.”

The mediation has been entrusted to former Kenyan Chief of Defence Forces, Lazarus Sumbeiywo. He had negotiated the peace agreement signed in 2005 between Sudan and South Sudanese rebels, an agreement that paved the way for South Sudan’s independence six years later.


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