IGAD mediator excludes non-armed groups from talks with South Sudan holdouts: PDM

(JUBA) - The opposition People's Democratic Movement (PDM) Thursday said they have been excluded from the consultations process conducted by the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan with non-signatories.

Ismail Wais recently held a series of meeting with the Gen Thomas Cirilo Swaka of the National Salvation Front (NAS), Gen Paul Malong of South Sudan United Front (SSUF) to discuss ways to join the revitalized peace agreement.

NAS did not issue a statement after the meeting but the SSUF said willing to join the process and hold discussions on this respect with the government.

Also, the South Sudan National Democratic Alliance (SSNDR) which gathers the non-signatory groups of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) including PDM and NAS among others did not issue a statement on the matter.

However, the PDM leader Hakim Dario said in a letter sent to Wais seen by Sudan Tribune on Thursday that the IGAD mediator met only with the armed groups and excluded his party and all the other political formation that rejected the revitalized peace pact.

"The selective consultations with NAS, SSUF/A and Oyai Deng is seemingly because they are all military generals with the potential to use armed means if not already doing so as in the case of NAS against Government aggression on their positions in Yei," said Dario.

The opposition leader further contested the "discriminatory" approach of the mediator.

"The partiality of your office (...) is regrettable and is grossly unfair and inconsistent with IGAD's directives to your office," he further went to say.

In an extraordinary meeting held in November 2018, the IGAD Council of Ministers directed its special envoy for South Sudan to reach out to the South Sudanese stakeholders and any warring groups who are not signatories to the R-ARCSS to join in its implementation.

The Council further threatened to label the non-signatory groups as "spoilers of the peace process" if they persist in their rejection.

Source: Sudan Tribune

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