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IGAD vows action against South Sudan peace destroyers

26 August 2014, 07:59

Nairobi - East African leaders at a summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Monday underscored the resolve to take action against those who obstruct the achievement of peace in South Sudan.

IGAD leaders convened their summit on South Sudan in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa as the regional bloc continued efforts to mediate peace talks aimed at resolving the South Sudan crisis which erupted in December last year.

The summit, chaired by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, was also attended by the presidents of Uganda, Djibouti, South Sudan and Kenya as well as the first vice president of Sudan and the prime minister of Somalia.

The summit "underscores its resolve to take action against those who obstruct the attainment of peace in South Sudan, and assures the people of South Sudan that such individuals or actors will be held responsible for their actions, and be denied participation in the future governance arrangements of South Sudan, " said a communique issued at the summit.

Though the warring parties in South Sudan signed cessation of hostilities agreement earlier this year, fighting has continued in the country affecting the South Sudanese people.

The IGAD summit deplored the numerous violations of agreements signed by the parties to date, which have exacerbated the ongoing humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.

It demanded that the parties to the conflict fully cooperate with and provide unhindered access to the monitoring and verification team (MVT) established to monitor the cessation of hostilities agreement.

The summit "reminds the parties of their obligations to ensure the safety and security of the MVTs at all times, and resolves that any failure to protect the MVTs will result in robust and direct consequences for those responsible," said the communique.

IGAD leaders reiterated that the crisis in South Sudan cannot be solved by the two warring parties alone, and therefore requires an inclusive and broad-based approach to negotiations, and hence the inclusion of all stakeholders in the IGAD-led peace process.

A decision was made on June 10 that a transitional government of national unity (TGONU) would be established in South Sudan within 60 days period.

The summit expressed disappointment that the 60 days have passed without the formation of the TGONU.

The leaders called on the stakeholders to negotiate and complete the agreement within 45 days.

The summit expressed serious concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in South Sudan, where millions face famine and which presents a threat to the national security of the entire IGAD region and to the member states.

It appealed to the international community to take all the possible measures to avert further suffering and prevent further deaths by providing the necessary humanitarian assistance and relief to South Sudanese, whether in South Sudan or in neighboring countries.

During the summit, the warring parties it signed a new cease- fire agreement.

Speaking to the press last Friday in Addis Ababa, Michael Makuei, Spokesperson of the South Sudan Government, was emphasizing on the need for the signing of the new document for the operationaliztion of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

"The matrix regulates, and I repeat, it regulates and operationalizes the cessation of hostilities agreement. It provides for the buffer zone; it provides for the corridors, the humanitarian corridors; it provides for buffer zones," said Makuei.

The summit called on the stakeholders to conclude, within six weeks, negotiation of the details necessary to fully operationalize the agreed principles on transitional arrangements towards resolution of the crisis in South Sudan.

- Xinhua

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