NATIONAL DIALOGUE STEERING COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP: PRESS STATEMENT ON REGIONAL CONFERENCES
NATIONAL DIALOGUE STEERING COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP:
PRESS STATEMENT ON REGIONAL CONFERENCES.
It is now public knowledge that the National Dialogue process is to hold four conferences throughout the country, as it moves towards concluding the National Dialogue process. The leadership of the steering committee is grateful and appreciative of the manner and precision with which our national media has stood with us in publicly presenting the work of the National Dialogue to our public.
As already announced, the first of our three regional conferences was to convene in Wau town, the capital of Wau state and the former capital of the former Greater Bahr el Ghazal, on Monday 18th February 2019. Indeed, the preparatory and advanced administrative teams from the Secretariat of the National Dialogue are already in Wau town as we make this public statement.
For what the leadership regards as a happy development, we are hereby announcing to our people that we are pushing back the Bahr el Ghazal Regional Conference of the National Dialogue by one week, from Monday 18th to Monday 25th February 2019. This means, therefore, that the other two regional conferences, the Greater Upper Nile regional conference, which were to follow that of Bahr el Ghazal at Malakal on Monday 8th March 2019, will now convene one week later, on Monday 15th March, 2019. The Greater Equatoria regional conference will take place in Juba on Monday 25th March 2019.
As a national process that was intended as a national forum for the discussion of the issues that have devastated our country and people, the leadership of the National Dialogue has always aspired for an inclusive National Dialogue. This is because the leadership of the National Dialogue has been conscious of the fact that only an inclusive National Dialogue has a better chance of reconciling all our communities and their political leadership.
This statement is not the place to give details of our continuing effort during this process to have an inclusive South Sudanese National Dialogue. We have not always been successful in our attempt to achieve the process of full inclusivity. Nor have we questioned why other South Sudanese nationals did not want to join the National Dialogue. We had, however, never given up hope to have an inclusive National Dialogue process.
All the people of South Sudan are aware that the recent Revitalized Peace Agreement, which was signed by the leaders of the warring factions of our country, has given us the opportunity to be in contact with all the leadership of all the rebel factions of our country.
Many of the leaders of the national opposition factions have now agreed with us to have an inclusive National Dialogue. This is a positive step towards peace and reconciliation of our people and country.
Although the leadership of the main armed opposition group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), was the first group we started contact with in our effort to urge them to join us as a National Dialogue; our contact with them had lacked behind, for very understandable reasons.
Now, however, since the signing of the Khartoum Revitalized Peace Agreement, our contacts with the leadership of SPLM-IO have borne fruits. As they consider joining the National Dialogue process, they have indicated to us, that it may only take them a few days to join the National Dialogue process. If this step happens, it would be a good step for all of us as a country and a people. A few days’ delay, while we expect a final positive step towards greater reconciliation for the people of our country, is, therefore, not too big a price to pay to achieve our national unity.
The leadership of the National Dialogue Steering Committee, hereby, announces the postponement of the process of regional and national conferences for only one week. We have, therefore, now rescheduled the Bahr el Ghazal Regional Conference, to convene on Monday 25th February 2019, to enable our brothers and sisters in the SPLM-IO, to join us in this gracious national endeavor towards both our national reconciliation and our National Unity
The National Dialogue Steering Committee Leadership,
Juba, South Sudan, 14th February 2019.