ROME-Talks off due to COVID-19 test
By Wek Atak Kacjang
The Rome peace talks between the government and the armed oppositions under the umbrella of South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) has been postponed due to delay in health safety clearance for covid-19 in Juba.
The Juba delegation was supposed to be in Rome, Italy this week to meet with SSOMA delegation under the mediation of Sant’ Egidio community however, the meeting has been delayed because the government team did not have health clearance to arrive on time for the meeting.
Speaking to Juba Monitor yesterday, the Head of government Delegation to Rome, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin said that talks were still going on but arrival time had been changed due to health test reasons.
“Well, the date has been postponed, not that talks are jeopardized; the talks are still going on. It is only the date that has been changed for some health reasons because people have to be tested again and that has to be done first. From there the date will be fixed and the meetings will go ahead,” Marial said.
He added that the date for the talks will be fixed by Sant’ Egidio.
“After that, we will go to resume the talks, there is no danger in Rome peace talks and you cannot go to Rome without being tested and have covid-19 certificate just as being done when going to other countries”.
“In Rome peace talks, the government is committed to bring all the holdout groups to join the peace process in the country,” Marial added.
Last month, the government planned to meet the splinter groups of Gen. Paul Malong Awan the leader of South Sudan United Front (SSUF), Pagan Amum of R-SPLM and Thomas Cirillo the leader of the National Salvation Front (NAS) in Nairobi. The Kenyan governments gave them the go ahead to discuss their issues in Nairobi.
However, the Kenyan government managed to bring the splinter groups together and convinced them to go back to Rome as one block and continue negotiating with the government of South Sudan.