By Deng Machol
Juba – Members of the Africa Union Peace and Security Council have arrived in South Sudan to meet with key political and other actors in order to support efforts towards a lasting peace in the country
The visit comes ahead of the third phase of the IGAD-led High Level Revitalization Forum, due to start on April 26th, to find a lasting solution to the conflict, for a five (5) day field mission in South Sudan.
The delegation headed by Nigeria permanent representative to AU and chairperson of peace and security council, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, will use the opportunity to urge all South Sudanese parties to commit to the resolution of the civil war that erupted on 15th December 2013.
The delegation will meet President Salva Kiir and other key government officials, before travelling to Malakal for an on spot assessment of the situation on the ground, they are “deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in South Sudan.”
The team met with the African Diplomatic Corp in Juba, yesterday to exchange views on the peace process in South Sudan.
In the press statement, the delegation will take the opportunity to interact with all South Sudanese stakeholders, as assess the challenges impeding the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan which was signed in August 2015, and thus, prolonging the suffering of the brave South Sudanese people, which deserve peace, security and development.
The delegation, reaffirming its commitment that there is no military solution to the conflict, and theyvowed to express support to the ongoing efforts by IGAD, for the restoration of peace, reconciliation and justice in South Sudan.
Last week, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Faki Ahmad was in South Africa, where he took the opportunity to push forward AU efforts towards peace in South Sudan.
While in South Africa, the AU commission chairperson also met with opposition leader Riek Machar in Pretoria to discuss the ongoing peace process in the war – hit East Africa’s youngest nation.
In the statement, “Dr. Machar pledged to do all he can to facilitate the search for peace, and said he was looking forward to the resumption of the Revitalization Forum under the IGAD auspices”.
The two leaders reportedly discussed the high-level revitalization forum, challenges facing the process and the role of other peace partners, like AU and the five African countries forming the IGAD-Plus.
The IGAD-Plus nations (Algeria, Chad, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa) were added into the mediation process to strengthen Africa’s support to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and assist South Sudanese parties and stakeholders to achieve durable peace.
The armed opposition leader reportedly expressed commitment of his group to participate in the revitalization talks without reservation.
The AU statement did not, however, made no mention about Machar’s detention in South Africa and the recent decision by the regional leaders to relocate him to a country outside the region.
South Sudan has been mired in conflict between the government of President Salva Kiir and rebels led by Machar, the country’s former first vice-president since December 2013. The conflict has killed tens of thousands and displaced almost over 2 million people from their homes, including over a million refugees who have fled into neighboring nations