South Sudan’s government has withdrawn from peace negotiations with rebel groups and accused them of using the talks to “buy time” as they prepare for war. The negotiations, which took place in Rome, were brokered by a Catholic association with ties to the Vatican.
Negotiations with the rebel groups to end violence in the south of the country began in 2019 but have failed to put a stop to bloodshed despite signing a ceasefire agreement in January 2020. In a letter dated November 21 and addressed to the Catholic Community of Sant’Egidio, Presidential Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said that “the government has suspended its participation at the Rome Peace Talks until further notice.”
Although there is still conflict in South Sudan between the government and opposition, mistakes and good faith seem to be moving the peace process forward. Unsurprisingly, several natural disasters and an economic crisis ensued after last year’s peace deal. The country will require help in order to achieve sustainable development
Earlier this month, the United Nations warned that two-thirds of the country’s population are at risk for severe hunger due to extreme weather conditions. This includes widespread flooding and a drought that is forcing thousands from their homes.