3 February 2013

South Sudan Initiates Consultations On National Reconciliation

Juba — South Sudan's government has kicked off a series of consultative meetings ahead of an upcoming campaign for a process of healing on national reconciliation in the country.

The consultations aim to share ideas and mobilise support for the planned national reconciliation campaign in order to put to rest past differences among South Sudan's tribes and clans and focus on the future.

The first consultative meeting took place on Saturday between the government and the international organisations operating in South Sudan. The meeting chaired by the Vice President of the Republic, Riek Machar Teny, brought together the organising committee for the reconciliation process and the international non-governmental organisations.

Machar in his remarks told the representatives of the international NGOs that the national reconciliation has become a priority of the government after independence, adding that without forgiveness and reconciliation among the people, the badly needed development of the country would be affected by the lingering past and present inter-communal conflicts.

The meeting was cordial with members of the international NGOs expressing their willingness to support the initiative technically and financially.

The Presidential Advisor on Decentralisation and Intergovernmental Linkages, Tor Deng Mawien, also told the press that more consultative meetings will take place over the next few days with different stakeholders.

The next consultative meetings will include faith-based groups, local NGOs and civil society organisations as well as political parties, he said.

Mawien who also chairs the organising committee for the national reconciliation further added that 200 people will be selected as "peace mobilisers" and trained wit assistance of the Initiative of Change International before the scheduled April conference on reconciliation.

A number of former presidents and prime ministers as well as religious prominent leaders have been invited to the conference from Europe, Australia, America and Africa to deliver speeches on the importance of national reconciliation and good governance.

The conference is scheduled to convene in April and to be followed by peace and reconciliation campaigns in South Sudan's ten states in a process which is expected to go on for many years.

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