South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has decided not to take up an invitation from the East African regional bloc IGAD to attend an extraordinary summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Monday, his office said.
The IGAD summit, to be attended by heads of state and government from IGAD countries, will discuss the dire security and humanitarian situation facing South Sudan and the obstacles to the implementation of the signed peace deal.
President Kiir’s spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, said Kiir will not attend the IGAD summit.
“He [President Kiir] will not attend the IGAD summit. The president has already sent a letter of apology through the minister in his office,” said Ateny when contacted by Radio Tamazuj.
“There are no reasons, but the president is attending to other things here in South Sudan. The team that will represent the president has not yet been formed,” he added.
He pointed out that Kiir is having other commitments within the country. However, Ateny declined to delve into details of such commitments that Kiir will be committed to do on Monday.
The South Sudanese leader was expected to attend the IGAD summit in order to iron out the difficulties in finding amicable solutions to the dire security and humanitarian situation in his country.
The presidential spokesman claimed that his government is implementing the 2015 peace accord and that the national dialogue would also consolidate the peace process.
On Tuesday, Hailemariam Desalegn, chairperson of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), called for an extra-ordinary summit in Addis Ababa.
Desalegn, who is also the Ethiopian prime minister, said the implementation of the 2015 peace deal in South Sudan is lagging behind and that the fighting was still continuing, despite a declaration of ceasefire and attempts to re-invigorate the national dialogue.
First Vice President attends IGAD summit
On Monday, the country’s First Vice President Taban Deng Gai left Juba to attend the extraordinary IGAD summit on his country.
He will in the evening address the meeting on behalf of President Kiir.
The Summit is expected to discuss the dire security and humanitarian situation facing South Sudan and the obstacles to the implementation of the signed peace deal.
Speaking to reporters at Juba International Airport before Gai’s team departed, Spokesman in the Office of the First Vice President, Chuol Lam said Taban Deng will present the status of peace implementation and also lobby for regional assistance.
“The delegation of the transitional government of national unity headed by the First Vice President Gen. Taban Deng Gai is travelling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The mission is to attend the extraordinary summit of IGAD,” said Lam.
“It is a one-day summit that will deliberate on the current situation in the country, humanitarian, and security as well as discuss the implementation of the peace agreement,” he added.
The First Vice President was accompanied by senior government officials including ministers and presidential advisers.
Last week, President Kiir decided not to take up an invitation from the East African regional bloc IGAD to attend the extraordinary summit in Addis Ababa. His office said Kiir was busy with other commitments in Juba.
Source: Radio Tamazuj