August 14, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan’s rebel faction the SPLM in Opposition led by the former vice-president Riek Machar has asked that it be able to take part in the upcoming summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), saying its presence was important for resolutions on South Sudan.
- South Sudan rebel chief Riek Machar attends the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on June 11, 2014 in Addis Ababa - (Photo AFP/Zacharias Abubeker)
IGAD heads of state and government who mediate the peace process between president Salva Kiir’s government and rebels are due to meet on Sunday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to discuss the situation in South Sudan and decide on what further measures to take.
The summit comes in response to the failure by the two warring parties to conclude a peace agreement in accordance with the 60-day ultimatum which IGAD imposed on 10 June and elapsed on 10 August.
President Kiir’s government takes part in the regional summit.
The rebel group however said it was important for their party to participate in the discussions and resolutions on South Sudan, criticising the regional body for passing disputable resolutions in the past in their absence.
“The leadership of SPLM/SPLA reiterates the need to participate in IGAD summits which discuss the situation in South Sudan. It is unfortunate that IGAD passes resolutions in favour of one party because SPLM/SPLA is not provided with an opportunity to tell our side of the story,” said Machar’s spokesperson James Gatdet Dak in a press statement issued on Thursday.
He said the opposition group had the right to dispute any controversial resolution IGAD may pass without their presence.
“IGAD cannot commit SPLM/SPLA to their resolutions where the Movement has no presence. We therefore want to be participant in the upcoming summit,” he added.
Dak said by time the press statement was issued, the SPLM in Opposition had not yet received any official communication from IGAD regarding the expected summit, despite an earlier request made to the regional body to consider their participation.