“The Minister stated that his government has lost confidence in the Chairman of the Mediation, Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, and the venue of the talks and hence called for the dismissal of the top mediator and the relocation of the talks from Ethiopia to Kenya,” the statement reads.
“He went further to accuse Troika countries (USA, UK and Norway) and the European Union, which stood with the people of South Sudan since the current armed conflict erupted and supported the peace talks from day one, of being responsible for the crisis and accusing them of seeking to reflect a regime change in Juba,” said the statement.
Dr. Lam Akol, who chaired the meeting said, “The mediators have selflessly and studiously guided this process very well and all those who followed the peace talks closely will bear witness to this fact. The lack of progress in the talks so far must be laid squarely at the door of the warring parties.
“Mediators do not prescribe solutions to outstanding issues of the conflict nor do they rush up the process if those involved take their time, but help guide willing negotiators in their negotiations,” he said.
The political parties said that to blame the mediators for what is not their fault is totally unfair and tantamount to looking for scapegoats. “Our people have suffered immensely and we must double our efforts to bring about a speedy end to this devastating war through the IGAD mediated peace talks. This should be our concern at the moment, rather than creating unnecessary obstacles and delays to the negotiation process,” said Lam.
“If the two warring parties do not change their attitudes in the peace talks, relocating the talks to Nairobi or Washington for that matter will not help in any way,” the Political parties warned.
“We would like to caution the government against what looks like ‘Forum shopping’ which was the position Khartoum took in 1994 towards the IGAD mediated South – North Conflict when they refused to accept IGAD Declaration of Principles (DoP), only to come back to the table in 1998, four years later!
“Let us learn from our immediate history, if not from the experiences of others. We do not have the luxury of buying time as that means more thousands of lives lost and hundreds of thousands more displaced,” they said.
“These statements of the Government’s spokesman can only be understood as unnecessary detraction from the search for a peaceful settlement of the current armed conflict and can only confound an already complicated situation in the country,” they said.
“We therefore call upon the Government not only to distance itself from these statements but take necessary measures to restore the damage already inflicted on the process by such unmeasured utterances,” the parties said.
The Political Parties Leadership Forum or PPLF was chaired by Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, who is the leader of SPLM-DC and attended by 11 political parties including UDF, UDSF-M, SSD-Front, UDP, USSP amongst others.