South Sudan has asked regional security bodies to intervene in bringing groups that are not parties to the revitalised peace agreement to the negotiating table.
Juba says these groups pose a threat to lasting stability even after a government of national unity is formed next year.
South Sudan government spokesman Michael Makuei said the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU) should be pro-active in persuading General Paul Malong Awan of the National Democratic Movement and Thomas Cirillo’s South Sudan National Salvation Front to sign on to the peace agreement.
However, IGAD appears to have already hit a dead end with Mr Cirillo after he insisted in April that the peace agreement be reopened for his input, a condition IGAD dismissed over fears it would undo the gains already made.
IGAD’s special envoy to South Sudan Ismail Wais, however, said Malong was willing to engage in talks over his involvement in the peace process. Mr Wais met the two leaders in April.
“We have called on the African Union, IGAD and international community to support us in talking to the non-signatories so that they join us in the peace process. If they so do by 2020 South Sudan will be silent of guns,” Mr Makuei said on Wednesday after a cross-border meeting between South Sudan and Sudan in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
During the extra-ordinary session of IGAD Council of Ministers in May, IGAD threatened unspecified consequences for parties that do not sign the revitalised peace agreement.
In September, Malong and Cirillo, some members of the G-10 and former army generals formed the United South Sudan Opposition Movements (USSOM), declaring “it would end the civil war by addressing the root causes of the conflict.”
Other players in USSOM are Oyai Deng Ajak, Pagan Amum Okiech and Chirino Hiteng Ofuho, part of those that declined to be part of the September 18 revitalised peace agreement. The trio represent the South Sudan National Democratic Alliance (SSNDA), the Real Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (R-SPLM), and South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A).
During a tripartite meeting in Entebbe, Uganda on November 7 President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar extended to late February the formation of a unity government.
The extension from May 12, initially, and lately November 12, is meant to allow for key facets of the peace agreement such as security and administrative units to be resolved.
President Kiir’s government recently pledged another $40 million, bringing the sum to $140 million overall its commitment to the peace process. However, disbursements have been sluggish, leading to suggestions that his is lip service to the cause.
More than 400, 000 people have died and another one million displaced in the war that erupted in 2013 after the president, and then first vice president Riek Machar differed over the direction of state affairs.