A top official from South Sudan National Dialogue steering committee confirms that their efforts to speak to exiled rebel leader Riek Machar during their visit to South Africa were futile because he refused to meet them.
Betty Achan, who is the co-chair of the committee said her team was only able to exchange messages with Machar regarding the process which President Kiir launched last month.
Deputy spokesman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Arm-in Opposition (SPLA-iO) Paul Lam Gabriel had told the media yesterday that their leader, who is currently in South Africa under house won’t meet the officials because the dialogue is not in the armed opposition’s interest.
“The national dialogue is not important now than stopping the raging genocidal war in South Sudan. The SPLA-IO will not participate in this national dialogue unless peace is achieved first. He refused to meet them because the national dialogue is not important now,” Gabriel said.
Steering committee members who were also appointed by President Kiir traveled to South Africa on Wednesday to meet his long term rival and persuade him to join the dialogue, which on which Juba is banking to unite a deeply divided nation.
I will not take part
Machar in a statement last week rejected calls to appoint a team from SPLM-iO to participate in National Dialogue saying his group is interested in a negotiated settlement to end the ongoing carnage and bloodletting in the country rather than the National Dialogue.
“Our efforts are focused to search for sustainable peace through a mediated peace process to end the war rather than national dialogue,” he said.
Speaking at the launch of the of the process on which he is banking to reconcile a deeply divided country, President Kiir said the National dialogue is open to every one in South Sudan except Machar whom he asked to appoint a team to represent his groups interest in the process.