Kenya takes up mediation of South Sudan peace talks

Saturday February 03 2024
kiir wsr

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (L) with his counterpart President William Ruto in a past meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. PHOTO | PCS


Kenya this week took over the mediation role in talks between the government of South Sudan and the holdout groups that did not sign the 2018 peace agreement.

After being rejected as the mediator in the Sudan conflict, Kenya’s President William Ruto could use this one to re-market himself as a peace envoy in the region.

President Salva Kiir late last year requested Kenya to take over the Rome process, which has been initiated by Community of Sant’ Egidio,a lay Catholic association.

Read: Kiir wants Ruto to mediate in Rome’s stead

President Ruto said that Kenya is making the necessary arrangements to take over and have the process transferred to Nairobi.

“I accepted the request of my brother President Salva Kiir to host the remaining phase of the peace talks that have been going on between the government of South Sudan and the holdout opposition parties,” he said in a statement.


On January 27, President Ruto received a list of government delegates from President Kiir, delivered by Presidential Special Envoy Albino Aboug in Nairobi. During the Italy-Africa Summit in Rome, Dr Ruto held discussions with officials of Sant’ Egidio and said Nairobi would also work closely with the former mediators.

The two parties were expected back to the negotiating table in May 2023, two months after the government withdrew its delegation, but it never happened.

Read: S.Sudan risks delayed 2024 polls due to ‘stuck’ deal

In December 2023, President Kiir shifted the talks to Kenya.

There are some misgivings within the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (Ssoma), with some members not comfortable with Kenya as the mediator.

Cirino Hiteng, a member of the Real-SPLM, said that while there is no guarantee that Kenya would succeed where Sant’ Egidio had failed, nobody could turn down peace talks.

His leader, Pagan Amum, was also sceptical, noting that the reason the talks were moved to Nairobi was because Ssoma had insisted that the forum address the causes of the conflict, which Juba is uncomfortable with.