August 22, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudanese former vice-president, Riek Machar, who now leads an armed opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-In- Opposition) is expected to participate in the upcoming regional leaders’ summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
- An extraordinary session of the IGAD heads of states meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 10 June 2014 (IGAD photo)
Sources close to IGAD in the preparations for the extraordinary summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, said the regional bloc’s heads of state and government are expected to converge on Sunday to decide on measures to take in trying to resolve the eight-month old war in South Sudan.
The meeting comes in the wake of boycott of the fifth round of the peace talks by the delegation of South Sudan’s government under president Salva Kiir, stalling the talks with Machar’s opposition group amidst renewed fighting in Unity, Jonglei and Upper Nile states.
The regional heads of state, president Kiir included, are expected to deliberate and resolve on the situation in South Sudan, threatening to take measures against any party seen to be perpetuating the war.
Previously, the rebel group protested against what they said was IGAD’s “dogmatic” approach when it made decisions or passed resolutions on South Sudan in favour of one party, (government) with no presence of the other party to the conflict (SPLM-In-Opposition).
However, the rebel group told Sudan Tribune on Friday that its leader would this time participate in the summit.
“We felt snubbed by IGAD’s previous approach which seemed dogmatic,” said James Gatdet Dak, spokesperson of the rebel leader.
“We are glad to learn that IGAD is now willing to have our party represented in the summit,” he said.
Dak said the chairman of the SPLM-IO, Machar, is expected to attend the summit and present his group’s side of the story, adding this was important for IGAD to make an informed decision.