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Activist urges IGAD to invite civil society for consultative meeting

August 15, 2019 (JUBA) – A civil society activist has urged the regional bloc (IGAD) to invite civil society organizations for face-to-face meeting with leaders involved in the South Sudanese conflict.

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South Sudanese civil society activist Edmund Yakani (The Niles/File)

South Sudan’s rival parties will meet in Ethiopia next week to salvage the peace deal ahead of the formation of a new unity government.

Speaking to reporters in the capital, Juba on Thursday, the executive director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), Edmund Yakani said the civil society are signatory to the revitalized peace accord signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last year.

He further said the media should also be part of the consultation meeting between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader, Riek Machar.

In May, the South Sudanese rival parties agreed on a six-month extension to implement next steps in the fragile peace agreement. The latest extension came after the main opposition group threatened to boycott formation of a unity government on May 12.

“The chance of trust and confidence deficit among the principals of the parties to the peace agreement returning the country back to war after failure to comply with 12th November 2019 is higher,” Yakani observed.

“It is a time for IGAD to take straight action oriented steps for obligating the parties to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan to comply with 12th November 2019 since still we have three months ahead of the deadline, he stressed.

Meanwhile, CEPO has urged the IGAD Council of Ministers to make the proposed August 21, 2019 meeting on South Sudan’s peace process inclusive and participatory for all parties and stakeholders.

“Keeping stakeholders away from the deliberations on finding best options for delivering peace in South Sudan is against the principle of the agreement on inclusive and diversity engagement of South Sudanese on making peace happen,” stressed Yakani.

South Sudan plunged into civil war in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused the country’s former vice-president, Machar of plotting a coup.