By Spy Uganda Correspondent
JUBA: Last week, our ever-alert spy in the corridors of power in South Sudan’s State House disclosed to us that following several breaches of the peace deal by key faction leaders, and backstabbing by some of his own security bosses in his own regime, some of whom we mentioned in our earlier stories, president H.E Salva Kiir Mayadit had suspended the whole peace deal after he accused the worrying parties of failure to abide by the agreed positions.
READ ALSO: Pope Francis’ Trip To S.Sudan For Peace Talks Hangs In Balance As Powerful Generals Vow To Curtail Efforts, Peace Agreement Dustbined!
Those who attended the high-level closed-door meeting quoted Salvar Kiir as having warned the worrying factions not to miss understand his stance to agree to sign and live by the peace dictates as a sign of weakness but rather a virtue of the peaceful head of state willing to work for peace.
“We chose to abide by the peace agreement, I didn’t do so because we’re weak. I chose it because I want peace for our peace. I did it because I want the people of our country to have peace so we can work together to develop our country. I didn’t do it because we’re weak and can’t retaliate,” Kiir was quoted as having said. This was interpreted as a strong message to some key warlords, some of which were integrated into the national security system as part of the peace process, but were now way laying Ugandan traders along the Nimule-Juba border to loot and kill and later cast Kiir’s Government as weak and incapable.
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But now, the good news is that following several meetings with the Pope’s advance team led by the Vatican Chief of Protocol Rachel and both Kiir and the different factions have agreed to maintain peace to give the Pope a peaceful ‘ visit’. Let’s keep the peace during the Pope’s visit,” Kiir was quoted by the local media in a statement.
”These guys are ashamed of meeting the Pope after suspending the talks. They quickly said they had opened the door after some members from Sant Egideo (Pope’s advance team) visited our country,” a source in S.Sudan confirmed.
Pope’s visit to South Sudan is aimed at bringing peace to the war-torn country. The visit follows a Rome peace initiative that began with the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the government and opposition groups in January 2020 and subsequent negotiations on the root causes of political violence in the country.
READ ALSO: From Rome To Kinshasa To Juba: Here Is Full Program For Pope’s Visit To DRC & S.Sudan
However, the talks were frustrated in November 2022, when the government suspended its participation.
In a letter dated 21, Nov, 2022, addressed to the Secretary General of Sant Egidio in Rome, Italy, the Minister of Presidential Affairs said the rival group was using talks to buy time as they prepare for a terrible war against Kiir’s government.
“While we have been preparing to engage in serious dialogue with the non-signatory South Sudan Opposition Group to bring lasting peace to the people of South Sudan, it has come to our attention that this group is using these talks to buy time as they prepare for war, ” Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin announced.
This came barely a month after political and military leaders of the groups formerly known as the South-South Opposition Movement Alliance renamed themselves the Non-signatories.
Garang Malual, the spokesperson of South Sudan United Front – under Malong Awan said then that the former SSOMA had rebranded as Non-signatories and this was agreed upon in the Italian capital Rome, following meetings with IGAD and TROIKA partners.
The meeting – convened by the faith-based group St. Egidio Community, brought together generals Paul Malong of SSUF, Thomas Cirillo of the National Salvation Front, and Pagan Amum of The Real SPLM.