Rebel faction leader Paul Malong Awan has called for a “new push for peace” in South Sudan from all sides, including the international community.
Gen. Malong is the leader of the South Sudan United Front (SSUF) faction. His opposition group is part of South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA), a coalition of holdout opposition groups that signed a truce agreement with President Salva Kiir’s government in Rome, Italy on 12 January.
This came following a meeting hosted and mediated by the Rome-based Sant’ Egidio Community.
Speaking to media on Friday, Gen. Paul Malong urged the international community to join forces and press for lasting peace in South Sudan.
“The Comprehensive Peace Agreement was implemented by Khartoum because the United States and some European countries participated in its implementation as guarantors. The revitalised peace deal is now facing a lot of challenges because the guarantors are not decisive,” he said.
Malong has appealed to the international community to monitor the South Sudan peace process and put more efforts to make it a success.
He pointed out that the non-signatories to the 2018 peace agreement will continue engaging the incumbent government to accept sustainable peace, saying addressing the root causes of the conflict is important for building peace.
“If the government agrees to address the root causes of the conflict, then we don’t have a problem with it. We will join the government under a peace agreement that can address the issues of the conflict,” he said.
The opposition official accused some government officials of working to thwart peace efforts in South Sudan, but he offered no specific details to support his allegation.
“Some anti-peace elements have started circulating baseless allegations on social media saying that Malong has threatened to withdraw from the Rome Declaration. I want to say it is not true that I am planning to pull out of the Rome agreement,” he said.
Malong, a former army chief sanctioned by the United States in 2017 for allegedly obstructing peace efforts, said he was ready to give peace a chance in the war-torn country.