The South Sudanese government has announced that the national dialogue, will convene on Monday 22 May after a long delay in order to include holdout opposition leaders.

Juba has warned the armed and non-opposition groups which have refused to join the dialogue, that any attempt to sabotaging the government-led political process will not be tolerated.

According to leading members of the organising team, President Kiir has given the go ahead to invite, accommodate and provide necessary logistics to the national dialogue committee.

“I am glad to let the people of South Sudan through the media know that the long-awaited national dialogue committee on which the secretariat has been working will be officially opened on Monday,” said Daniel Awet Akot, the Presidential advisor on military affairs.

“This will not only be in Juba alone. It is a bottom-up dialogue and so a general national dialogue will start in all the states across the country,” he further said.

Akot went on to say that President Kiir who is the chairman of the process would just open the proceedings, but the real work would be done by the co-chairpersons.

Mean while Christian and Muslim leaders in South Sudan have reiterated their call for tolerance and peace, following the surge of attacks by armed groups despite the preparations for the country’s national dialogue.

“Without a doubt, the swearing in of the members of the dialogue being organised by the government will mark the beginning of a long march together. Hand in hand, Christians and Muslims looking in the same direction in order to eradicate violence, suspicious, mistrust and hatred,” said Isaac Dhieu, the Episcopal Bishop of Akot diocese.

The conference “will not only strengthen the brotherhood and sisterhood for our citizens, but it will also help to boost the momentum that we support as custodians of the divine law,” he added.

The Bishop denounced the voices that advocate war and glorify violence in the name of reforms.

Last Thursday, the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said the dialogue will kick off its works soon without the opposition figures who declined their appointment.

A swearing ceremony will be held in Juba on Monday 22 May for those who accepted to take part in the political process.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Malou Deng, the Catholic Priest in charge of Gordhiim Parish in Aweil East, urged the country’s political leaders to use the national dialogue as the opportunity to resolve the differences and called on religious leaders to persevere in their role as educators, by preaching love and brotherhood within families, communities and places of worship.

Deng also called on all followers of different religious groups to increase “our common determination to counter the inhumane and barbaric ideology.”

Juma Abdullah, a South Sudanese Muslim said, Christians in a situation of violence and deep crisis must strive to show mercy and compassion.

He then went on to cite the Quran and Biblical examples of the Good Samaritan. “Blessed is a generous man because the memory of the righteous shall dwell forever.”

Abdullah went on to stress the importance of “inclusive and universal brotherhood,” while inviting political and military leaders to “break the spiral of violence and hatred”.

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