Remarks of the SPLM Leaders (Former Political Detainees)to IGAD-Mediated Talks on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; 6th August, 2015
Your Excellency the Chair of IGAD,
Your Excellencies IGAD-Plus Special Envoys and Representatives,
My South Sudanese Compatriots and Stakeholders,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Last month, on the 24th of July, we, the delegation of SPLM Leaders (Former Political Detainees) had expressed our sincere thanks, gratitude and appreciation to IGAD Heads of States, IGAD Foreign Ministers, the IGAD Special Envoys, the AU, the UN and the International Community in general for their support and unwavering commitment to the peace process in South Sudan. Today, as we meet again to negotiate an end to the tragic conflict in South Sudan, we would like to reiterate, once again, our sincere appreciation and thanks to all of you. We pray that this session brings to a successful conclusion these negotiations that have gone on for over one and a half years; an end to avoidable deaths and senseless killings; an end to the massive suffering of the majority of our people.
We have looked keenly at the Compromise Proposal presented to us two weeks ago. We note that more than ninety percent (90%) of content is our collective work; things that we have discussed and agreed at various committees, thematic working groups and consultations.
We also note that the issues connected with power – the exercise of power, the sharing of power - are the areas where compromises have been proposed by the Mediation. The key concept here is “compromise”. In our view, compromise cannot be anything other than a compromise, i.e. it can never satisfy any one party 100%. There is need for us to bear that in mind as we face the task of making difficult decisions during these negotiations. If all of us are not 100% satisfied with the Proposed Agreement, then it is most probably a good agreement.
As we meet here in Addis Ababa today and over the next two weeks to seek solutions and compromises in order to achieve peace in South Sudan, I urge all of us to keep at the back of our minds the yearning of our people for peace; peace today and not tomorrow; real peace and not the talk about peace. We should be mindful and concerned about the suffering of our people: the deaths, diseases, hunger, starvation, psychological distress and above all that sense of hopelessness and loss of control over their lives that the majority or our people are experiencing. We should bear in mind the imminent danger of total collapse and disintegration of South Sudan into lawlessness and chaos. This should not be allowed to happen.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is this connection – the need to end the war and prevent collapse of the state – that took us to Arusha to craft a complementary process to the Addis Ababa peace process under the mediation of IGAD. It is the search for peace that made our team of SPLM Leaders go to Juba to engage President Salva Kiir Mayardit and other SPLM-IG leaders recently.
I want to reiterate what we, the SPLM Leaders said during our last meeting here in Addis Ababa. “It is self-evident the disintegration of the country, when it comes, will not only be catastrophic for all of us but will be hard to reverse.” All of us will be loosers including those who are not with us today. (We regret that the delegation of the Other Political Parties are not here with us. I appeal to the delegation of the Government and the IGAD Envoys to do all in their power to have the Government allow the Other Political Parties to join us at some stage. We need everybody on board). There is no possibility of any of the South Sudanese group or groups succeeding in picking the pieces or putting it back together. It is, in our view, crystal clear that the only option we should choose is the option to prevent collapse. We should resolve at the outset of these talks that there shall be no further rounds to negotiate peace in Addis; that this must be the last round in which we should make compromises and bring this ugly war to an end.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen; my Compatriots,
As we consult and negotiate over the Compromise Proposal in the next two weeks, let us accept that there can be no ideal and perfect solutions to the ongoing conflict in the short run; that it is not in the nature of compromises to satisfy any one party to a contentious issue or conflict one hundred percent (100%). That cannot be a compromise. As we said at our last meeting here in Addis Ababa, we would like to reiterate and urge all of us to use the imperfect deals and compromises of today as the basis to achieve perfect goals in the long term.
For/ Head of Delegation
SPLM Leaders (Former Political Detainees)