January 31, 2017 (JUBA) – Various international human right organizations have petitioned the African union to press South Sudanese leaders to embrace inclusivity in the national dialogue process, saying an all-inclusive dialogue is the best way to resolve political and ethnic differences.
- President Salva Kiir greets First Vice President Riek Machar before to start a meeting at the South Sudanese presidency in Juba on 3 June 2016 (Photo Moses Lomayat)
In an open letter addressed to AU members attending a summit in Ethiopia, the various entities said an all-inclusive dialogue was key in South Sudan.
“The development of an open and inclusive national dialogue for our continent’s newest nation at the 28th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union. Your support would give the people of South Sudan confidence to move forward, knowing that the AU stands in their interest and inclusive dialogue is the best and cheapest form of conflict resolution”, partly reads the letter.
The South Sudanese conflict, it added, has led to unprecedented level of poverty, increased desperateness and that it not known when the conflict will end as political leaders have little interest and attention to the plight of the ordinary citizens.
They urged government and oppositions to place the interest of the country over and above individual interests, saying war had destroyed the social fabrics and it was the high time to pause and reflect about the future of the country and its population.
The assembly of African heads of states and government on Monday decided to pass the mantle of the annual leadership to Guinea’s President Alpha Conde as the new chairperson of the African Union. Conde replaces Chad’s President Idris Derby whose term came to a close in the 28th African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
CHAD’s candidate for African union commission, Moussa Faki Mahmal won the race against Kenya’s candidate Amina Mohammed to become African Union Commission Chairman with 38 votes. The summit was attended by the new U.N Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who held sideline meetings with both President Salva Kiir and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Kenya president, on his part stated, that his country’s troops would return to South Sudan.
Addressing the AU summit in Addis Ababa, the Secretary General noted that African countries are the most generous hosts of refugees while most in the developed world were closing their borders. SG Guterres reiterated his commitment to work with the African countries, which host majority of the peace keeping operations in the world.
In his closing remarks, Guterres said that African countries were generous in opening their borders to refugees as opposed to other countries in the world where bordered are closed to refugees fleeing either violence conflict or national disasters.
"And so, I am here to listen to you, learn from you and work with you for the people of Africa and the wider world”, stressed the Secretary General.
South Sudan has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between President Kiir and 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.
But, despite the August 2015 peace accord 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.