South Sudanese armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement SPLM-IO has rejected calls to join the country’s National Dialogue process launched by President Salva Kiir.
Leader of SPLM-IO, self-exiled in South Africa, said in a letter dated June 24, 2014 sent to the recently formed National Dialogue Committee that the National Dialogue is not their focus but rather a mediated peace process.
“Our efforts are focused to search for sustainable peace through a mediated peace process to end the war rather than national dialogue,” he said.
“As much as we believe national dialogue is an important process for the people for South Sudan to engage in, however, it is our considered opinion that the priority is to end the raging genocidal war in the country,” he added.
Machar’s SPLM-IO group has battled soldiers loyal to Kiir for more than three years. The country plunged into civil war just two years after independence in 2011 after President Salva Kiir fired his then deputy Riek Machar.
The East African regional bloc, IGAD, at its Extra-Ordinary Summit in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa this month called upon both parties to return to the 2015 peace agreement whose implementation was abandoned following renewed violence.
The agreement faltered after renewed conflicts in 2016 between the two parties that saw the former First Vice President Riek Machar flee the country to South Africa where he is based.
Kiir declared ceasefire and launched the national dialogue body last month to organise the national peace dialogue expected to include the armed opposition to address the root causes of the conflict.
He however stated that whoever answers to the call would be included in the dialogue after the opposition earlier hinted that it would not participate.