January 29, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) – The U.N, African Union (AU) and regional partners have reiterated calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities in South Sudan, urging the parties to ensure an inclusive political process, both in the proposed national dialogue and in implementation of the 2015 peace accord.
- South Sudan’s Salva Kiir at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa (goss/Kenneth Thomas)
At Saturday’s meeting in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa on the margins of the 28th AU summit, the AU, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the U.N, held a joint consultative meeting on South Sudan.
Those who attended meeting, a joint statement noted, expressed their deep concerns over the continuing spread of fighting, risk of inter-communal violence escalating into mass atrocities, and dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan.
The participants at the meeting also reaffirmed their continued and collective commitment in the search for lasting peace, security and stability in the country.
Reiterating earlier calls for a political solution to the conflict, within the framework of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, the AU, IGAD and U.N emphasised their call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and urged the parties to ensure an inclusive political process, both in the proposed National Dialogue and in the implementation of the peace deal.
The AU, IGAD and the UN reaffirmed their commitment and determination to further enhance their cooperation in support of the South Sudan peace process.
At the meeting, those in attendance reportedly commended the work of the Joint Ministering and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) chairperson, Festus Mogae, who heads the body responsible for monitoring and overseeing the implementation of the peace deal and encouraged the AU High Representative for South Sudan to undertake active shuttle diplomacy towards ensuring the inclusivity of the national dialogue and the implementation of the peace accord, in close consultation with JMEC’s Chairperson, U.N and IGAD.
The AU, IGAD and the UN, according to the joint statement, reaffirmed their commitment and determinations to further enhance their cooperation in support of the South Sudan peace process.
The meeting, chaired by Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chairperson of IGAD, was attended by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, and the new U.N Secretary-General António Guterres.
The AU High Representative for South Sudan, former President Alpha Oumar Konare, and the Chairperson of the JMEC, reportedly briefed the meeting.
War-torn South Sudan has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his then former Vice-President Riek Machar erupted into full blown conflict in December 2013. The crisis has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.
However, despite the August 2015 peace agreement that formally ended the war, conflict and instability have also spread to previously unaffected areas in the Greater Equatoria and Greater Bahr-El-Ghazal regions of South Sudan.