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ADDIS ABABA - 13 Feb 2018

Opposition coalition ends boycott, rejoins Addis talks

South Sudanese opposition groups at the ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa have ended their boycott of the talks this morning.

The opposition groups on Monday morning walked out of the talks in protest, accusing the government of attacking SPLA-IO defensive positions near Nasser town.

Officials attending the peace talks told Radio Tamazuj this morning that the opposition coalition resolved to rejoin the ongoing peace talks.

They pointed out that the stakeholders set up two thematic committees to discuss matters related to permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements, besides the revitalization process of articles 1 and 3 -10 on nature of the transitional government, timeline and composition.

The officials further said the revitalization process of Chapter 1 and negotiations on ceasefire arrangements continues.

In his opening speech this morning, Henry Odwar, deputy chairman of the opposition group led by Riek Machar urged all South Sudanese delegates to demonstrate their commitment to bring about peace in the country.

Emanuel Aban, spokesman of the opposition group led by Lam Akol, confirmed that they have rejoined the peace talks after the mediation team promised to look into their complaint.

“IGAD has promised that it will send a verification team to Nasser to see the situation on the ground,” he said.

The opposition official further said they have formed two thematic committees on transitional security arrangements and governance.

“Three members representing each warring party are part of the committee on security arrangements. Each of the other political parties including SPLM-FDs has one representative, and civil society groups have two representatives,” he said.

Edmund Yakani, executive director of the nonprofit Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), confirmed that the South Sudan parties formed the committees to discuss matters related to transitional security arraignments and governance.

Yakani urged the parties to start negotiating seriously today. “The message to the citizens is that be hopeful and pray for the parties to engage in bringing about peace,” he said.