South Sudan Government, Rebels Pledge Peace in Kenyan Mediation Effort

On Thursday, the government of South Sudan and rebel opposition groups signed a “commitment declaration” for peace during high-level mediation talks held in Kenya. This agreement is viewed as a key step in efforts to end the conflict in South Sudan, which has long crippled its economy.

The content of the agreement was kept confidential during the signing ceremony attended by diplomats and civil society groups. These rebel opposition groups were not part of the 2018 agreement that ended South Sudan’s five-year civil war, which left 400,000 people dead and millions displaced.

Kenya’s foreign office described the agreement as a “first milestone” in the ongoing talks, where warring sides pledged their commitment to ending violence and hostilities.

At the start of these high-level mediation talks launched a week ago, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir expressed gratitude to his Kenyan counterpart, William Ruto, for hosting the negotiations dubbed the Tumaini (Swahili for Hope) Initiative, led by former Kenyan army commander Lazarus Sumbeiywo.

Although South Sudan is scheduled to hold elections in December, the country remains politically fragile, partly because the 2018 peace agreement has yet to be fully implemented and due to ongoing conflicts and violence in different regions stemming from ethnic and political tensions.