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South Sudan says open to dialogue with opposition
Last Updated: 2017-02-04 08:27 | Xinhua
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South Sudan said Friday that the upcoming national dialogue was open to all opposition groups including exiled rebel leader Riek Machar on condition that violence was denounced.

President Salva Kiir's spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny assured that despite recent calls by the key peace guarantors "Troika" for the process to be inclusive, the various armed opposition factions fighting to topple the government should first abandon rebellion for dialogue.

"By calling for national dialogue, the president means any opposition ... Machar is part of the dialogue if he denounces violence," he told Xinhua when asked about the delays on the process.

Ateny added that the ministry of finance had been ordered to get money for the dialogue.

President Kiir in December initiated the national dialogue in a bid to end more than three years of fighting in the world's youngest nation, and bring healing and reconciliation among the various warring factions after the peace deal suffered a huge blow in the aftermath of renewed July clash last year.

Machar who is now exiled in South Africa was replaced as first vice president by his former chief negotiator Taban Deng Gai who leads a splinter breakaway faction of the SPLA-In-Opposition in the transitional unity government in Juba.

However, opposition member Majak D'Agoot has called for the review of the entire setup of the dialogue in order to make it impartial.

"Even if we have strictly welcomed the call for the national dialogue which is also provided for in the ARCSS (peace agreement), Kiir's version of the dialogue is flawed with him as a patron. He has also appointed conveners, steering committee and a secretariat unilaterally without consultation with the stakeholders," Agoot told Xinhua in an interview.

In January, Britain, Norway and the United States vowed to support the dialogue on condition that it was inclusive of all opposition forces.

South Sudan is currently faced with economic hardship amid hyper inflation as its oil production, affected by the conflicts, fell from over 350,000 barrels a day to less than 130,000.

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