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IGAD mediator, South Sudan’s Cirilo discuss ways to resume peace talks

Ismail Wais, IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, briefs the Security Council on 27 February 2018 (UN Photo)

February 25, 2019 (JUBA) The IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan Ismail Wais Monday met with the leader of the South Sudan National Democratic Alliance (SSNDA) Thomas Cirilo to discuss ways to resume peace with the holdout groups and end the increasing violence in the Greater Equatoria region.

Last December Wais met with a delegation of the opposition alliance in Addis Ababa but this is the first meeting with the SSNDA chairman who is also the leader of the National Salvation Front (NAS).

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the IGAD said the meeting took place in Addis Ababa with the participation of Kenyan ambassador to Ethiopia, representative of the Uganda Embassy to Ethiopia, and the Interim Chairperson of RJMEC to "discuss the timeframe and modalities for further engagements with him and his team".

"The Special Envoy and his team highlighted the urgency of stopping the ongoing hostilities especially in Yei River State and other affected areas. He further urged Lt. Gen., Thomas Cirillo, to give the ongoing engagement a chance to succeed by silencing the guns".

Wais further called on "all other parties" involved in the fighting to cease hostilities and observe the ceasefire agreement.

UN humanitarian agencies report new waves of displacement in Western and Central Equatoria as a result of the clashes between the South Sudanese army and NAS fighters.

Earlier this month the head of the ceasefire monitoring body pressed the IGAD special envoy who is also the peace mediator to bring the holdout groups into the revitalized peace agreement.

In November 2018, the IGAD Council of Ministers directed the special envoy to work with the holdout groups ways to join the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement. Also, the regional body threatened to label them as peace "spoilers".

The non-signatories rejected the threats and called to open the revitalized pact for talks as the claim a genuine federal system in South Sudan.

Recently, Cirilo said they would continue to wage war against the government until a new peace deal is signed.

"We’re not going to stop. If Juba thinks that without bullets we’re not going to be able to protect ourselves and our people they’re wrong," Cirilo told the U.S.-based Vice News on 15 February.