A committee created within the national dialogue steering committee will contact former First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny and other armed opposition groups for their participation in order to ensure inclusivity of the national dialogue.

Angelo Beda, Co-chair of the national dialogue steering committee said the committee for refugees and international outreach, one of the 15 created will engage Dr. Machar and all other opposition leaders who are outside the country to take part in the national dialogue.

“Those who carry arms, we want them to come and talk that is why the national dialogue is inclusive,” he said in a press conference at freedom hall on Thursday. “The national dialogue is open to all, including those who have got arms, and those in the diaspora to bring credibility and orderliness. Those who are participating have their safety and freedom.”

Beda said the committee expects those fighting to announce their own ceasefire so that they can come and participate in the talks.

The steering committee also formed fourteen other committees. Ten of the committees are tasked with going to the grassroots to gather information for formulation of the agenda for the national dialogue.

One committee will go to Boma and engage the Murle and Dinka Bor in solving their conflict which often leads to cattle raiding and loss of lives, while another committee will engage other armed groups operating in the country.

Another committee will go to Abyei.

Beda said while the 14 committees are engaged with their assignments, the secretariat remaining in Juba will make contacts with Dr. Riek Machar and other armed opposition leaders. “We shall find ways and means in order to contact them so that they can respond to this national dialogue,” he said.

When launching the national dialogue, President Salva Kiir said all are invited except Riek Machar, because when he comes in the country he would cause chaos. He said Machar would only participate in the national dialogue when he denounces violence, or through a delegation he would send to Juba.

Angelo Beda said the armed groups should be part of the national dialogue through their representatives, to be brought to Juba by the steering committee of the national dialogue.

Dr. Francis Deng, the Deputy Rapporteur of the national dialogue steering committee said the national dialogue will be inclusive and transparent because all the groups will be represented.

He however said even if some people are calling for the participation of Dr. Riek Machar in the national dialogue, it is practically not possible for him to come when he is still leading a rebellion against the government.

Alfred Taban, the head of communications in the steering committee of the national dialogue said it is the decision of those opposition leaders who refused to take part in the dialogue. “They are the ones who have refused. The President has included almost all sectors. If I appoint you and you refuse, what can I do?” he asks.

Mary Bisensio- Member of the leardership in the national dialogue steering committee said the national dialogue is inclusive since the President has included three women in the leadership of the steering committee of the national dialogue.

By Jale Richard