Opposition groups in South Sudan’s civil war have rejected a draft compromise agreement and withdrawn from peace talks. Government and opposition groups were in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to find a solution to the war.

In the first part of the talks, mediated by the Anglican Archbishop of South Sudan, the sides reached agreement on a cessation of hostilities. But the second part of the talks, led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), collapsed when parties rejected a compromise plan proposed by IGAD.

On his return to Juba on May 23, before the second part of the talks collapsed, Archbishop Justin Badi Arama said: “We are sincerely thankful to all the members of the different parties that went for the talks. We thank them for the way they had the trust and demonstrated that respect for the church. As a result of it we have brought a small goat for South Sudanese, and a big bull is still behind in Addis Ababa; our politicians are struggling to bring it here.

“The small goat is that with the trust that the parties have for the church they have recommitted themselves to honor the cessation of hostilities agreement and to silence the guns. That is what we achieved and have brought as a church. Our message to all South Sudanese is that the church is ready to continue to support and engage political leaders through its action for peace; let them continue to pray so that all the parties will be able to cooperate and compromise to sign the peace agreement this week that the big bull of peace may be brought back to our country.”

Ismael Wais, IGAD’s Special Envoy to South Sudan, In the closing session of the talks, said that churches’ involvement had come about as a result of the parties’ request for “intra-South Sudanese consultations.”

He said: “It is on that basis that at the resumption of this Phase of the Forum the internal dialogues among the South Sudanese stakeholders were facilitated by our spiritual leaders, the South Sudan Council of Churches. It was important that this track was also given due consideration, to explore a homegrown South Sudanese solution.”

Adapted from ACNS

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