South Sudan representatives come to Rome to discuss ways for peace in the country

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Since 2013, South Sudan, the youngest nation in the world has been caught up in a civil war. However, in September 2018 the two opposition leaders, President Salva Kiir, and his former vice-president, Reik Machar signed the

Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS). 

Since then both parties have been seeking to implement the Pre-Transitional period agreements to help bring peace and unity to the country. 

Recently members representing the different parties of the agreements came to Rome to Sant'Egidio's center. There they have been discussing the extended transitional period agreements in order to meet its deadline on Nov. 12; and to receive the support of the international community.

According to one of the members, some significant steps have been made since the signing of the agreements. 

Co-deputy Chair, National Pre-Transitional Committee
“The necessary unified forces will be 83,000, comprising of 29,000 for the military, and 54,000 for security and unified police. This is the benchmark we have agreed to deliver within the extended period.”

He says the fact both parties have agreed to an extension of the transitional period is a sign in itself of a desire to bring about peace and unity. This is because the original transitional period was meant to finish last May.  

Additionally, he adds a joint committee has already been established in preventing the use of child soldiers. 

Co-deputy Chair, National Pre-Transitional Committee
“When we take our forces into cantonment areas that committee will be working to identify who are the child soldiers in those forces. As soon as they are identified they will be released. This is being done in collaboration with DDR and Red Cross.”

Last April Pope Francis held a two-day spiritual retreat with the two opposition leaders to encourage further the path to peace. It ended with the pope kneeling down before them and kissing their feet.

Furthermore, the Sant'Egidio Catholic community have been a long standing friend of South Sudan even before its independence in 2011. They hosted the members at their center; and to offer assistance in the implementation of the agreements.  

Sant'Egidio International Relations Director
“There are some political differences. For example, in the federal asset of the country. They still have no political agreement on the number of federal states.”FLASH “Another obstacle, that does not directly refer to their job, is the fact that there are forces on the ground that did not sign the agreement. We are well aware of this, but this must be a subject that should be treated separately and in a more confidential way.”

Sant' Egidio is a religious group focused on fraternally assisting those living on the peripheries of society. In the past the community helped bring about the signing of the peace agreements for Mozambique in 1992, which was hosted in the same place. 

The South Sudan representatives believe that in maintaining unity and in seeking the resources needed from the government, and from partners, they can meet the deadline for November. 

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