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IGAD to present compromise position on peace, after warring parties reach deadlock

May 22, 2018

The East African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), is expected to present a reviewed proposal for a compromise between warring parties to end the civil war in South Sudan on Tuesday.

The IGAD mediation has taken over the peace process today after the South Sudan warring parties reached a deadlock through the intra-South Sudanese talks facilitated by religious leaders was concluded and the outcome was handed over to IGAD.

According to the religious leaders, opposition and government officials, little progress have been made on governance and power sharing at South Sudan’s high level peace talks mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Addis Ababa.

On Monday, delegates at the peace talks held a plenary session to listen to reports from the security and governance sub-committees.

The two reports were presented by religious leaders to IGAD mediators, regional and international partners overseeing the talks. The two documents contained detailed agreements on outstanding on governance issues and the transitional security arrangements.

Sub-committees on governance and security prepared these reports, which spelt out agreements to the principle of cantonment and a recommitment by the warring parties to the ceasefire accord.

South Sudan government spokesperson, Michael Makuei Leuth said the documents are expected to be signed and initialed on Tuesday.

"On security arrangements, people agreed on the cantonment, they have agreed on Article 2," he told reporters in Addis Ababa after Monday’s session.

Makuei said the warring parties also agreed on the unification of the forces. However, the timeline for the process was not agreed upon.

No progress, according to the minister, has been made on power-sharing ratios and a government structure, which are key in the talks.

The parties also agreed to respect the cessation of hostilities agreement signed in December last year, the official further stressed.

Meanwhile, Justin Badi Arama, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, who facilitated the intra-South Sudanese talks since last week, said in a statement from the venue of the peace talks in Addis Ababa on Monday evening that the issue of governance remained a major sticking point.

 “As from now onward, IGAD will take over and assist them on how to distribute the percentage and the structure of the government, so that will be the responsibility of IGAD,” Arama said, after submitted their final report to the regional mediation on Monday.

“We also told IGAD that on governance and other areas of security, we have not made much progress. But we have also given them the areas of progress.” “It is now the IGAD to see the way forward on the areas that are difficult. I think they will do that from tomorrow (Tuesday) onward,” Bishop Arama further said.

However, South Sudanese are disappointed by lack of political will and “people – centered approach in the current peace talks to end fifth years’ conflict.

Canon Clement Janda, a representative of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, told the press that the talks focused on power sharing and self-interests of individuals, argued that it should have given priority to issues that are hindering the displaced from returning back to their homes.

“Those of us who are in millions have no stake in being president or vice president or governor or what you name it,” said Canon Janda. “We just want to go home and be safe to cultivate, to rear our cattle and goats and live in peace.”

Furthermore, the religious leader said the warring parties agreed in principle to form an inclusive government based on a presidential system and they have recommitted themselves to silence the guns across the country.

The regional bloc, earlier, vowed not to tolerate any further violation of the cessation of hostilities accord by the warring parties.

While addressing the opening the second high-level revitalization forum on South Sudan in Addis Ababa on May 17, the Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister and the current IGAD Council of Ministers chairperson, Workineh Gebeyehu called on all South Sudanese parties to reach to a consensus and to maintain the ceasefire by eliminating trust deficit to achieve peace and security in the country.

He further indicated that IGAD is ready to take actions against the two sides if they again attempt to violate the ceasefire agreement, as they argued peace revitalization is only option to the people of South Sudan.

South Sudan got her independence in 2011 from Sudan after decades of civil war, but returned into violence in December 2013 when power wrangles within its ruling party (SPLM) turned violent.

The conflict, now in its fifth year, has displaced millions of people from their homes, killed ten thousands of people, while descended a country into economic crisis.

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