March 27, 2017 (JUBA) - Eastern Africa’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the body that mediated South Sudan 2015 shaky peace agreement, has condemned "proliferation of armed groups" in the country and confirmed President Salva Kiir’s intention to declare a unilateral ceasefire.
- An extraordinary session of the IGAD heads of states meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa (IGAD File photo)
A communique issued in Nairobi late on Monday at the sideline meeting said IGAD head of states and governments "Condemned the proliferation of armed groups in South Sudan; and called on all armed groups to renounce violence as a means of solving the problems of South Sudan."
It added in the statement both sides to the conflict should stop the war.
"In response to this call, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan agreed to announce a unilateral ceasefire and grant amnesty to those that renounced violence," the statement said.
Government sources said President Kiir will make the announcement this week though there are sceptics that the various armed groups will adhere to such declaration.
IGAD countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea were presented by their leaders at the Nairobi meeting. It i the first time that the bloc singled out armed groups for criticism.
The communique said the declaration of ceasefire will enable all actors in the country to attend the national dialogue announced by President Kiir in December.
IGAD said all parties should implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS). The SPLM in Opposition leader and former First Vice President Riek Machar fled Juba in July when conflict resumed. He has since being exiled in South Africa. A breakaway SPLM IO faction led by Taban Deng Gai has continued to implement the peace agreement despite spreading of the conflict in the country.
IGAD encouraged all the parties to ensure that reforms are implemented as agreed in the peace document
"(IGAD) Further encouraged the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to work towards building an encompassing political process determined through a credible election, where all South Sudanese have an opportunity to determine their leaders and hold them to account," the statement added, referring to the 2018 general elections enshrined in e peace agreement.
It is not clear if the peace timetable leading to elections before July 2018 will be respected.