South Sudan opposition alleges Juba stopped its peace talks trip
A delegation of South Sudan’s opposition parties on Wednesday claimed that Juba prevented them from travelling to Addis
Ababa to participate in the peace talks between the South Sudanese warring parties.
“We were on our travel procedures when a police officer told us that there were directives from the Presidency to prevent the delegation from travelling,” Lam Akol said.
Akol is the head of the opposition delegation, told newsmen at Juba airport Wednesday.
“Such decisions do not serve the peace issue in any way,” Akol said, describing the move as “a flagrant violation” of freedom of movement stipulated in the country’s constitution and in international laws.
He said the delegation has received a formal invitation from mediators, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development in
Africa (IGAD), to resume talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Friday.
The South Sudanese opposition parties’ alliance brings together about 18 political parties that are not participating in the government.
Earlier IGAD announced a reviewed proposed draft peace agreement to be considered by South Sudan’s warring parties.
The government is led by President Salva Kiir Mayardit while the South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in opposition is
led by former Vice President Riek Machar.
The mediators availed the two sides until Aug. 17 to sign a peace deal to end the violent clash in the newly-born state.
In spite of many rounds of talks under IGAD’s patronage, the two South Sudanese rivals have failed to reach a peace deal.
South Sudan plunged into violence in December 2013 when fighting erupted between troops loyal to Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy, Machar.
The conflict soon turned into an all-out war, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension that pitted the president’s Dinka tribe against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.
The clashes have left thousands of South Sudanese dead and forced around 1.9 million people to flee their homes.