The IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government has welcomed President Salva Kiir’s decision to launch a national dialogue and a unilateral ceasefire in South Sudan.
Saying the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) remains the only viable way to fully resolving conflict in the country, IGAD asked Kiir to follow up the strict implementation of the ceasefire.
This is contained in a communique issued by the East African regional bloc following the 31st Extra-Ordinary Summit, in Addis Ababa, on Monday under the chairmanship of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.
The Summit of IGAD Heads of State called upon all the conflicting parties in South Sudan to take urgent steps to draw concrete plan and timeline to compensate the delay and to revitalize the full implementation of the ARCSS.
It applauded Kiir’s national dialogue and asked him to make the process all inclusive, genuine and transparent as well as ensuring that his field commanders respect the ceasefire and take swift measure against those who violate his decision.
IGAD then condemned in the strongest terms the violence and armed conflict that continues to be perpetrated by government forces as well as all other armed groups in South Sudan targeting defenceless civilians.
The summit noted the long delay of the deployment of the Regional Protection Force (RPF) and decides to convene a meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Staff of the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs).
It expressed concern on the obstacles facing humanitarian agencies including killings of humanitarian personnel and denial of access to deliver humanitarian supplies.
It resolved to urgently convene a High-level Revitalisation Forum of the parties to the ARCSS including estranged groups to discuss concrete measures, to restore permanent ceasefire, to full implementation of the Peace Agreement and to develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic election at the end of the transition period.
The summit decided to hold a Resilience Summit on 31st August 2017 in Addis Ababa, preceded by IGAD Council of Ministers on 29th – 30th August 2017.
It then appointed Dr Mohamed Ali Guyo as the IGAD Special Envoy for Somalia and Amb Ismail Wais as the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan.
The summit encouraged Kenyans to be peaceful during the electioneering period, and called upon external actors to respect the sovereign rights of Kenyans to choose their own leaders without interference.
The assembly was attended by H.E. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan; H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda; H.E. Taban Deng Gai, First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan; H.E. Hassan Ali Khaire, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia; H.E. Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Djibouti; and H.E. Amina Chawahir Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya.