June 4, 2014 (JUBA) – Visiting members of the Forum of Parliaments of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR) said on Wednesday that there is an African solution to the crisis in South Sudan.
The five-member team, including three executives and two members of parliament led Zambian legislator Bwalya Lazarous, told reporters following a meeting with foreign affairs minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin that the government is committed to reaching a peaceful settlement to the conflict.
South Sudan descended into violence in mid-December last year following escalating political tensions between former vice-president Riek Machar and president Salva Kiir.
The visiting FP-ICGLR team are on a three-day fact-finding mission to gather information on the security, political and humanitarian situation in the country ahead of late June meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The team is tasked with conflict prevention through parliamentary diplomacy and capacity building.
Asked if he still believes South Sudan’s crisis could be solved by Africans, Lazarous said he remained confident.
“I strongly believe that there is an African solution to South Sudan’s problems and I am convinced that sooner or later we, as Africans, should be able to come to the right decision and ensure that this country moves on,” he said.
“So all I am doing is to appeal to the every African conscience that we need to come as a round table and be able to solve our own problems so that the international community out there will be able to have confidence in ourselves and just support us where need arises,” he added.
Mediation attempts by the East African regional bloc – the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) – have so far made only limited progress.
A renewed peace deal signed between South Sudan’s rival leaders on 9 May has also failed to halt violence on the ground.
Since a tenuous January ceasefire both sides have continued to accuse each other of violating the terms of the agreement.
There has been growing international pressure for South Sudan’s warring parties to resolve their differences peacefully amid warnings the country is facing a looming humanitarian catastrophe.