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IGAD chief mediator insists rebels signed ceasefire matrix

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August 30, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The chief mediator mediating the peace talks between the two warring parties in South Sudan under the auspices of the African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has insisted that SPLM In Opposition led by the former vice-president, Riek Machar, did in fact sign the matrix on ceasefire agreement despite dismissal by the rebels.

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Seyoum Mesfin (L), chairperson of IGAD meditors, and Taban Deng Gai, SPLM In Opposition chief negotiator, attend the resumption of South Sudan talks in Addis Ababa on 11 February 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

In a briefing to the press in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, chief mediator Seyoum Mesfin said the two parties had on Sunday signed the matrix for implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement (CoHA) which they signed since 23 January 2014 and called on them to abide by it and implement it fully.

He said what the rebels were saying was not true, adding they were attempting to renege on the agreement.

“They signed it. Having signed the matrix, if they come days later and say they haven’t signed it, it is just a gimmick exercise,” he told reporters.

Mesfin warned of tough actions by IGAD against the rebel group should they not succumb to the document.

“I advise [the rebel camp]…to play critical role in the resolution of the crisis which has put the lives of millions of South Sudanese at risk. Any violations will be met by robust and decisive action by IGAD, which will take all measures in its power to prevent the humanitarian crisis from deepening,” he said.

The tough comments by the chief mediator, who is Ethiopia’s former minister of foreign affairs, comes days after rebels spokespersons, including the chief negotiator, Gen Taban Deng Gai, dismissed as false the claims by IGAD that they signed the matrix.

The SPLM in Opposition said they neither signed the draft agreement on transitional government of national unity nor signed the ceasefire matrix, explaining that the document they were served with and signed was simply the rededication to the existing cessation of hostilities agreement which did not attach the matrix.

IGAD PLAYS GAMES

The SPLM In Opposition has, however, lashed at the regional bloc trying to mediate the peace process, criticising the body for allegedly resorting to playing unhelpful games after failing to ensure the two parties addressed the root causes of the conflict.

“We have come to understand that IGAD mediation is failing to address the root causes of this conflict and to call spade a spade. They have unfortunately chosen to resort to cunning games as a short cut to a mock peace agreement, which cannot work,” said Machar’s spokesperson James Gatdet Dak.

Dak when reached by Sudan Tribune on Saturday further said the regional body attempted to lure the rebel group into signing a document which was not yet agreed, by hiding its content from them.

He further explained that IGAD mediation provided only last page of the draft agreement on transitional government to the opposition leader, Riek Machar, to sign it without showing him the text and when Machar insisted that he wanted to see the contents of the text first, they declined and Machar couldn’t sign it.

He also added that when the two chief negotiators Taban Deng Gai and Nhial Deng Nhial signed the document on rededication to the existing cessation of hostilities agreement there was no matrix attached to it because the rebels made it clear they would not sign it if the foreign troops and rebel groups allied to president Salva Kiir’s government were not withdrawn from South Sudan as stipulated in the agreement.

“Now how come the matrix popped up in the rededication document when it was not there during the signing?” Dak inquired.

IGAD WAR PRETEXT

The rebel leader’s spokesperson accused IGAD of introducing the recent behaviour as a pretext for war against the opposition faction, saying they had the plan to deploy troops to fight for president Kiir and wanted a pretext in order to go to war.

“We suspect that IGAD is failing in the mediation and may be tempted to go for regional war which they may mistakenly think is a cheaper mean to impose fake peace on the people of South Sudan,” he said, adding this will lose more lives and increase the suffering of the people.

Dak said the regional block should now put aside their own interests in the South Sudanese conflict and work for genuine peace that should address the root causes of the crisis.

Mesfin acknowledged that the rebels have grievances on the protocol on agreed principles on transitional arrangements toward resolution of the crisis in South Sudan endorsed by the IGAD leaders last Monday.

The rebels had already contested the method imposed by the mediators saying they should be the moderator not the driving force that takes decisions instead of the warring parties.

They further say that the peace process should first address the root causes of the conflict, and then come to define who will be president or vice-president.

“We said IGAD was trying to put the cart before the horse because the issue of who to lead the transitional government would come later as a by-product of a peace agreement between the parties,” Dak said.

The violence erupted on 15 December in Juba when political debates within the ruling SPLM party turned violent, with Kiir and Machar becoming leading rivals.

Ugandan troops (UPDF) were immediately deployed to help restore stability and protect president Kiir’s leadership from collapse.

Machar’s opposition group said they would not sign the ceasefire matrix unless all foreign forces allied to president Kiir’s government, including the UPDF were fully withdrawn from South Sudan’s soil.

(ST)

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  • 31 August 08:40, by truth to be told in SS

    Riek Machar Blinded Followers,
    Accusation toward IGAD is not going to help you guys this time around. Riek Machar is a murdurer and a failed leader and no one wants to assoicate himself or herself with him. SPLA mighty of Malong Awan has already closed all the tunnels of Riek Machar. you guys have two options. 1. Surrender to Mighty dinka and beg for mercy 2. Fight this war to the end or shut up

    repondre message

    • 31 August 08:48, by truth to be told in SS

      Since Malong Awan took charge of the army, this is no more recapturing by Riek force. No single major SS town under Riek control. So, Singing the war song will led to Nuer extinction on the face of SS. That means, IGAD has no more interest in a failed Idiology of Riek Machar. So, Riek has two options : 1. Sign the document & beg Kiir to forgive you,or Refuse to sign the document and face the musi

      repondre message

      • 31 August 18:48, by Shadrack Nuer Machut

        The life of Nuer community now depends on Riek Machar and the Youths supporting him.
        Wake up and mind your personal benefits apart from politics b’se there will be no achievement that will benefit everybody in the rebellion side.

        repondre message

    • 31 August 10:57, by Johndumo14

      Dr Riek Machar and his rebels group are playing games now with the wrong guys,Dont mess with IGAD, they have more power than EU or USA ,All your stolen money,families and business are in those countries ,even right now you are living in those cities,when they kick you out where will go ? To Khartoum,Do you want IGAD to say now you are the president of s.sudan? Or u want IGAD TO SAY KIIR MUST GO?

      repondre message

      • 31 August 15:30, by choldit

        It is clearer in the post that IGAD took side in the ss conflict that it added the matrix to the text that was signed after it was signed while the rebels made it clear that they will not sign matrix if foreign forces protecting Mrs Museveni Kiir and his Dinka tribe while facilitating the killing of Nuer. But let be clear that the Nuer have no option but to fight whever stands with dictator Kiir

        repondre message

    • 31 August 11:08, by Johndumo14

      S. Sudan rebels are preparing for of “full-scale” war with government troops in all fronts including Juba. They have received new weapons from Khartoum and more reinforcement from Kosti,all Nuer youths living in the north are being rounded up for only 2 weeks military training and sent to Bentiu border with sudan,they are ready waiting orders from Peter Gadet.These youths have no experience war

      repondre message

      • 31 August 14:07, by Son of Ngundeng

        Dear All:
        Nuer will never surrender for all their life, even though you train your army while they are caring their weapons with the woman’s heart it will mean nothing to Mighty Nuer, its first time in South Sudan History for Nuer to turn their back to Dinka since our grand father,don’t think you defeat us, you being lucky if your Sulatan of Warrap called Kiir didn’t give his anus to M7 U CAN SEE.

        repondre message

    • 31 August 11:39, by Johndumo14

      If Dr Riek Machar refused to sign peace,we have in South Sudan traditions ,people muast be given chance to fight for 6 months and the elders will see who has the upper hand,the winner will the Sultan or chief of the community!The IGAD must give permission to waring parties to fight to see if fight can bring peace!! or if really Dr riek will win the war,but he must send his wife and sons to front.

      repondre message

    • 31 August 17:44, by Planetmars

      Nuer are becoming the LRA, Boko Haram or the Al shabp of south sudan. To make it fair, south sudan government is not a good government, but compared to the Rebels, it is the best option to side with. This question has been asked since the war broke out but received different answers.WHAT DO THE REBELS MAINLY WANT? ANSWERS: the release of political detainees, the withdrawal of Uganda forces,

      repondre message

      • 31 August 17:53, by Planetmars

        and sudanese rebels. Those are not the cause,but the results of war.Nuer need to know exactly what they are fighting for instead of telling the world that they are a confused community. Most of them are now in Ethiopia forgetting the fact that they massacre Ethiopian traders in 1992 in Itang just to get food from them. Blind people.they should be ashame to call south sudan their Home.

        repondre message

        • 31 August 17:56, by Planetmars

          They did not even stay to complete the struggle for the liberation of south sudan, these are histories that need to be written on south sudan books.

          repondre message

  • 31 August 09:03, by truth to be told in SS

    People have been trying to give peace a chance but Riek keeps stubbing Southerners in the back. Now, the Igad and the rest of the world have seen the true color of Riek Machar and they are now issolating him to face the real music. Riek Sign the peace document or face the real music. There is no more running around this time. Nuers, the Ethiopia government is the only chance you guys have rightnow

    repondre message

  • 31 August 15:39, by Hardlinner

    Nuer civilians and soldiers alike should learn by now that riek and his group care only about position not human life. It is good that iGAD have discovered the group that is hindering peace. Those war mongers must be taught a lesson.

    repondre message

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