South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Tuesday through the Minister of Presidential Affairs Bangasi Joseph Bakasoro asked President William Ruto to mediate between the government and the non-signatories to the 2018 peace agreement.
According to Bakasoro who was speaking to Eye Radio, a South Sudan media outlet, the move is seen as a strategic play in efforts to bring peace to the country.
Speaking during the interview, Bakasoro remarked that President Kiir was hoping that Ruto would begin the process soon. The peace talks, the government expects will pave the way for peaceful elections scheduled for 2024.
President William Ruto at a meeting with President Salva Kiir’s delegation at State House Nairobi on August 19, 2023.
“The President of the Republic, His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, after long consultations with some individuals, I think has accepted and agreed to ask his brother and his colleague and our neighbour, His Excellency William to host and mediate peace between the government of South Sudan and the holdout group called SOMMA in Nairobi,” he told the media.
Bakasoro explained that Kiir was looking forward to going into the elections with the groups participating and maybe securing some political seats in the next government.
The Minister further revealed that President Kiir had given the groups a chance to engage in the negotiations to be led by Ruto so that a peace agreement could be drafted.
Ruto will take over from a Catholic association in Rome that was tasked with resolving the matter but failed in early March.
President Kiir’s announcement comes after the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) ended the term of a peace-making team in Sudan led by Ruto.
IGAD dissolved the team after it presented a comprehensive report on the crisis in Sudan. The authority explained that the report shall be adopted in the interest of achieving long-lasting peace.
“The responsibility has now been handed over to IGAD and the African Union. Quartet has ended its role so there is no more quartet to this point. So, it is now the responsibility of IGAD and AU to take this process forward,” IGAD stated.
Ruto was the Chairperson and led the quartet of countries; Kenya, South Sudan, Djibouti, and Ethiopia.
He was elected in mid-2023 but his appointment was met with opposition from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) which accused him of favouring the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and having vested interests in the war.
President William Ruto (right) meets Sudan counterpart Abdel-Fattah Al Burhan at State House, Nairobi on November 13, 2023.