South Sudanese rebels maintain more time is needed to secure lasting peace in the country and it is necessary to address the root causes of the civil war.
“There is no shortcut to peace,” the group said in a statement after peace talks in Ethiopia between its leader Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir, the first time the two men met since 2016, when a peace deal collapsed and fighting re-erupted between their forces.
SPLM/SPLA (IO) said the solution to the five-year civil war, which killed tens of thousands of people and forced more than three million people to flee, was to revisit the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The CPA was agreed in 2005 between Sudan and South Sudan was aimed at ending the civil war in Sudan and paved the way for South Sudan to ultimately successful secede.
“The current model, with its various workshops, though they are informative, is unrealistic, as it is not for lack of technical experts there is war in the country, nor will the workshops stop the war,” the group said.
The imposition of an agreement on the parties will not work, the statement said.
“For meaningful dialogue to take place, it should be within the context of a comprehensive political settlement,” the group said. “So the guns can fall silent and a conducive environment for dialogue established.”
Meanwhile, in Addis Ababa, where the regional bloc IGAD was meeting, a South Sudanese government official said “President Salva Kiir is not ready in any way to work again with Riek Machar in the next transitional period.”
Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan information minister, said while Machar is welcome to come to South Sudan Kiir will not work with him in the would be transitional government of national unity.
“We have had enough of him (Machar),” he said on Thursday after the regional bloc IGAD Heads of State Summit in Ethiopia’s capital. “We don’t want another fight. We want the government of South Sudan to continue and we want our people to live in peace and harmony and Riek Machar to wait for elections. This is our position.”