- Lt Gen Simon Gatwech Dual (C) with his supporters after the spilt from SPLM-IO (ST photo)
October 4, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir and the breakaway faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) under the leadership of the former chief of staff, Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual have started direction negotiation despite protests from the armed opposition faction led by Riek Machar.
Machar, who is also South Sudan’s First Vice President in the coalition government, has insisted the meeting between Kiir and Gatwech violates terms of the peace deal which prohibits switching allegiance.
“Accepting direct a negotiation with this group proved what the leadership has been saying all along that one of the parties to the agreement has been encouraging defection from the movement with the view to weakness and undermine implementation of the peace agreement, which is a clear violation of the peace agreement”, a legislator from SPLM-IO party told Sudan Tribune Monday.
The South Sudanese leader, however, says his objective is to implement the September 2018 peace deal to avoid a return to war.
“His excellency the president of the republic is the man of peace. He does not want our people to continue to die. He wants any differences to be resolved amicably by dialogue. This is why he has decided to negotiate with the group of Gen Simon Gatwech Dual and Gen Johnson Olony. He should therefore be commended for accepting to dialogue instead of receiving this wise initiative with scorns and cynical views”, a presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said on Monday.
Presidential adviser Tut Gatluak commended the decision of the president, saying Gen Gatwech Dual has accepted negotiation with the government and is nominating his team to start talk with them
Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath Deng, who speaks for Gatwech’s faction, conformed their group will get into negotiation with the government in negotiations that will be mediated by the Sudanese government.
Deng his boss had been asked by the Sudanese government to prepare a delegation which will negotiate with the delegation of the government. He described the process as good start but were waiting for the date on which negotiation would begin.
Officials with direct knowledge of the process say the government and the mediation team are working to ensure there is a budget for the secretariat that will be organizing the venue, accommodation, transportation and feeding of the delegates.
It, however, remains unclear who is likely to foot the bill as no independent party has emerged to provide funds for the mediation. South Sudan’s president’s office will fund the start of the talks.