The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has set June 30 as the deadline for face-to-face talks between the two South Sudan warring leaders, President Salva Kiir and Rebel leader, Riek Machar.
During the 62 extra-ordinary IGAD council of ministers’ session in Ethiopia on Friday, foreign affairs ministers from IGAD member states said Kiir and Machar must resolve their differences for the good of the citizens of Africa’s youngest nation, who have been nursing conflict since December 2013.
A communique issued by IGAD indicates that the ministers of foreign affairs have been tasked to consult the Heads of State in order to fast-track the face-to-face talks between Kiir and Machar before the 31st African Union meeting takes place.
The communique noted that IGAD minister recommended that: “IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government to consult with members of the Assembly on the convening of an Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Assembly and a face-to-face meeting between H.E. SalvaKiirMayardit and H.E. Dr. RiekMachar before the 31st Summit of the Assembly of the African Union to be held on July 1-2, 2018 in Noukakchott, Mauritania.”
IGAD ministers also regretted that efforts to resolve the South Sudan conflict, including the August 2015 comprehensive agreement on cessation of hostilities, have not been honored by the main actors fuelling the South Sudan conflict.
Since war broke out in 2013, thousands of South Sudanese have left the country, with Uganda hosting over 1.3m South Sudanese refugees.
“The IGAD Council of Ministers urges all the South Sudanese Parties to seize this opportunity to negotiate in good faith and make real compromises based on the Bridging Proposal on outstanding issues,” the communique noted.
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