National Dialogue on course
A high level delegation of the steering committee of the National Dialogue led by Co-chair Angelo Beda returned to Juba from South Africa on July 2nd having failed to meet the former First Vice President and now the main opposition figure Dr. Riek Machar is being taken by some people as an indication that the exercise has run out of steam. Nothing could be further from the truth. The idea of going to South Africa was not really to see the face of Dr. Riek but to seek his opinion about ways of ending the ongoing conflict in the country. Infact the delegation sent two messages to Dr. Riek Machar and he responded to at least one of them. He welcomed the dialogue but according to him the priority was the implementation of the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) which he signed with President Salva Kiir in 2015. This is his opinion. You may disagree with him but that is his opinion which must be taken into consideration. That deal is certainly important and many members of the National Dialogue have been calling for its implementation in full. Thus, the dialogue with Dr. Riek Machar is on. The South Africa deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who the delegation met agreed to convince Dr. Riek to meet the delegation. Thus, the team will probably return to South Africa or other countries in the region at a later date to meet Dr. Riek and other opposition leaders to tell them that the National Dialogue is not dismissive of the 2015 peace deal. It is only that if the peace agreement was successful in silencing the guns the National Dialogue would probably not be necessary. The peace agreement is not competing with the National Dialogue for prominence in bring about peace. Both are mechanisms for achieving peace. The National Dialogue is complementary to the peace agreement. What the South Sudanese people want is something that can bring them peace. War has failed. No one side can defeat the other militarily. What measures, steps or initiatives can we take to bring peace to our country? This is what the National Dialogue is all about. Make your suggestions and take part in the dialogue. Those of us who are involved in the process believe there is no alternative. Failure is not an option. We must succeed to find a solution to our problems. We must continue to talk. We must continue to dialogue. If you also have an alternative to dialogue, please tell us.