January 20, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - African Union commission chief Nkozasana Dlamini Zuma, during a short visit to Juba on Monday, urged the South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and rebels to cease hostilities and to sign a negotiated agreement.
Dlamini Zuma met with Salva Kiir and the 11 political detainees at their detention venue to encourage the two parties to swiftly end the one-month fighting which killed thousands of civilians and forced over 500,000 people to flee their home.
"In her remarks to both parties, the Chairperson insisted on the urgency for them to sign an agreement on the cessation of hostilities, so as to stop the senseless killings taking place in South Sudan and end the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in their country", reads a statement released at the end of the one day visit.
The South African diplomat said the detainees are favourable for an immediate and unconditional signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement "emphasizing that no condition could morally justify the continued senseless killing of fellow South Sudanese people".
The IGAD leaders are to meet Thursday in Juba to discuss the conflict and convince president Salva Kiir to release the SPLM leaders arrested since one month ago to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the conflict with them.
The two warring parties also agreed with the visiting AU chairperson on the need for accountability on atrocities committed against civilians and supported the establishment of a commission of inquiry as it was decided by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC).
The PSC in a meeting held at the level of head of states and governments in the Gambian capital, Banjul, on 30 December 2013 decided to form an ad hoc commission to address the human rights violations and "to identify the factors that are needed to strengthen the institutions of their young nation, while providing reconciliation and healing opportunities to its diverse people and ensure sustainable peace".