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S. Sudan agrees on unified consultations: official

October 11, 2017 (JUBA) – The various parties that make up South Sudan’s coalition government have agreed on a joint consultation at the upcoming peace deal revitalization by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an official said on Wednesday.

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South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, speaks to reporters in Jonglei state capital Bor on 25 December 2014 (ST)

"We have already received the IGAD letter on revitalization and without prejudice to other parties to be consulted, we have agreed to be consulted as the TGoNU [Transitional Government of National Unity]," said South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth.

The High-Level Revitalization Forum takes place from October 13-17.

Consultations, according to the regional bloc, will begin with officials in the coalition government and include the other faction leaders.

Dhieu Mathok, a member of the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) led by First Vice President Taban Deng Gai urged the need for a unified consultation instead of reaching out to separate individuals.

This call has, however, been opposed by member of the country’s former political detainees who insisted on separate consultations to be held. Two of the ex-detainees serve in the coalition government.

In June, a summit of IGAD heads of state and government decided to convene a meeting of the signatories of the South Sudan peace agreement to discuss ways to revitalize the peace implementation.

During the June summit, it was agreed that all groups be included in the discussion aimed at restoring a permanent ceasefire.

Last week, IGAD unveiled the timetable for the revitalization forum to start consultations with South Sudanese leaders and the nation’s citizens. The process, it said, begins on 13 October and ends on 17.

South Sudan government earlier warned that the revitalization forum by the regional bloc, which mediated the 2015 peace accord, should not be another platform for negotiations of the peace agreement between the two factions to the conflict.

IGAD is an eight-member economic bloc that brings together Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.

Over a million people have fled South Sudan since conflict erupted in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir sacked Machar from the vice-presidency. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced in South Sudan’s worst ever violence since it seceded from Sudan in 2011.

(ST)