South Sudan rebel groups left out of 2018 deal commit to rejoin govt

Several South Sudan rebel groups initially left out of the 2018 peace deal have signed a crucial agreement committing to a ceasefire and to rejoin the government. The deal was mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.

The development happened on Thursday in Kenya’s Naivasha town and saw the two main rebel groups sign the Declaration of Principles, which will be the main guide for negotiations with the government of National Unity.

Kenya, which is acting as a facilitator for the talks, said the document now clears many of the obstacles to lasting peace, including representatives to be involved in discussions as well as the commitments to address each of the security concerns for the groups.

The Declaration of Principles “denotes [an] overarching anchoring framework, on whose basis the parties will discuss the substantive issues,” said a statement from Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Officials said the session was given adequate legitimacy by the presence of South Sudan’s key allies.

The session was witnessed by Kenya Foreign Affairs Cabinet Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba, Kenya’s Special Envoy for South Sudan Kalonzo Musyoka, representatives from Uganda, the Panel of Experts on South Sudan, the European Union, the Revitalised Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission as well as diplomats from Sudan, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.