Norway welcomes agreement on reunification of the SPLM in South Sudan

The split in the SPLM, South Sudan’s ruling party, was the main factor that triggered the current conflict in the young nation. After several rounds of discussions in Arusha in Tanzania, the different factions have achieved agreement on renewed cooperation within the party – and with this, renewed hope for peace.

‘I am very pleased that the different factions of the SPLM have agreed to cooperate on finding a sustainable solution to the conflict within the party and in the country,’ said Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

On 21 January, the three main factions of the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) signed an agreement on the reunification of the party in Arusha in Tanzania. The agreement contains commitments to comply with the existing armistice agreement and to hold negotiations on a sustainable peace. Tanzania’s ruling party, the CCM, supported and hosted the negotiations, and the Finnish organisation Crisis Management Initiative acted as facilitator.

Conflict flared up again in South Sudan in December 2013, when fighting started between different factions of the SPLM. More than two million people have been driven from their homes and serious breaches of human rights are being reported regularly. The humanitarian needs are massive, with four million people dependent on humanitarian assistance. Unless the parties to the conflict can agree to a solution, the danger of famine will be even more serious in 2015 than it was last year.

‘Fighting is continuing in parts of South Sudan. and there are still many unresolved questions. It is therefore essential that the parties follow up the agreement they reached in Arusha and incorporate it into the IGAD-led peace negotiations in Addis Abeba. The parties to the conflict have already signed several agreements that have not resulted in peace for the population of South Sudan. I hope that this agreement will be a game changer and that the parties will show a real willingness to negotiate in Addis Abeba as well,’ said Mr Brende.

Norway and the other members of the Troika (the US and the UK) will continue to support the IGAD negotiations both politically and practically. Norway considers it important that civil society, and especially representatives of South Sudan’s women, are able to take part in this process.

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