South Sudan to send “national dialogue” team to Ethiopia

ESAT News (January 2, 2017)

The government of the Republic of South Sudan is preparing to send to Ethiopia a mobilization team tasked to advance recent “national dialogue’ message to rebel-held territories, according to a report by the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA).

In a leaked document seen by the SSNA, South Sudan’s presidency main goal is to take peace to areas under the control of the armed opposition.

The leaked text shows the primary goal of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Taban Deng Gai is to convince civilians who are in refugee camps, particularly those IDPs living in Ethiopian camps.

The SSNA confirmed that Kiir and Gai assemble a team of at least 20 individuals, most of whom hail from Gaatjaak Community, to lead the peace mission.

“The President [Kiir] is determined to end this war, so our national dialogue team is set to arrive in Addis Ababa…and head to Gambella and stay there for 30 days,” a confidential government source who prefers anonymity told the South Sudan News Agency on Saturday.

The source added that Juba “really” wants its peace delegation to arrive in Addis Ababa by the 5th of January 2017 and return to South Sudan by February 5, 2017.

The South Sudan News Agency confirmed that government’s reconciliation team, if sent, will be dominated by people from Gaatjaak areas.

In response, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) under the leadership of the Former South Sudanese Vice President and rebel Leader Dr. Riek Machar says Juba is just doing all it can to presence itself to the outside world as a peace-maker. The armed opposition blasted the government for not being truthful to the people of South Sudan, IGAD, African Union (AU), Troika, and the United nations.