ADDIS ABABA, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Multi-stakeholder roundtable negotiations for South Sudan were launched on Friday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The stakeholders are expected to discuss security and transitional government arrangements, according to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional bloc that has been mediating the South Sudan peace process.
The launch follows the June 10 commitment by Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan and Riek Machar, former Vice President of South Sudan and Leader of the SPLM/A (opposition), to expedite and complete dialogue on the formation of a transitional government of national unity within sixty days, said IGAD in its statement.
The talks are expected to finalize the modalities for the implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the warring parties that was re-affirmed on May 9.
Negotiations will also begin on a new political dispensation, to include the parameters of a transitional governance agenda and arrangements for a transitional government of national unity, according to IGAD.
The talks will, for the first time, bring delegates from SPLM Leaders (former detainees) and representatives of political parties, civil society and faith-based organizations to the negotiation table alongside the Government of South Sudan and the SPLM/A (In Opposition), said IGAD.
The talks will be conducted in a participatory and round-table format, in accordance with the May Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan, it added.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Seyoum Mesfin, Chairperson of IGAD Special Envoys for South Sudan, underlined that inclusive process is a best way to achieve lasting peace in South Sudan.
The delegation of SPLM/SPLA was absent during the opening of the launch of the multi-stakeholder negotiations.
Speaking on the occasion, Nhial Deng Nhial, Chief Negotiator of the Government of South Sudan, welcomed the resumption of the multi-stakeholder roundtable negotiations.
"We are committed to restoring peace to our country and will negotiate in good faith to achieve that goal. We hope that the other party shares the same commitment," said the government negotiator.
Gabriel Changson Chang, Acting Chief Negotiator of the SPLM/ SPLA, spoke to the press in a separate hall in Addis Ababa, where he underlined that "all South Sudanese sectors must be represented; political parties, civil society organizations, church based and other groups."