World Bulletin / News Desk
South Sudanese retired Bishop and co-chair of the National Dialogue, Paride Taban has tendered his resignation on Friday, casting doubts on the viability of the process without participation of the key and influential religious leaders.
South Sudanese president Salva Kiir launched the National Dialogue last December, calling for his countrymen to participate in the talks. But opposition members and some religious groups have expressed fear the environment is not favorable for negotiations.
Bishop Taban submitted his pardon letter to presidency to excuse himself from the position of the chairperson of the National Dialogue Committee, local media reported Saturday.
He said that he would only play a spiritual role in the National Dialogue, expressing willingness to meet the committee on important issues.
Taban also promised to contribute effectively to prayers and fasting for peace and urged all South Sudanese to support the initiative.
South Sudan descended into chaos in December 2013 after Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of planning to overthrow the government. Civil war broke out when street battles took place between Kiir’s troops and those backing Machar.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly 3 million displaced from their homes with 5.3 million others facing starvation according to the UN.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 and a coalition government between the two men was stalled last July when renewed clashes took place between the two rival forces.
South Sudan's government says it wants to bring peace and stability to the country this year, after three years of fighting. The government is putting its hopes on this launched national dialogue.