By Taddeo Bwambale
A new round of IGAD-led peace talks to end fighting in South Sudan resume on Monday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Key on the agenda will be the formation of a transitional government and a commitment to end hostilities in the world’s newest nation, IGAD mediator disclosed in a statement.
“The session’s key agenda will be to finalize and sign the Cessation of Hostilities Matrix and negotiations on details of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU),” mediators stated.
The talks were initially scheduled to commence on July 30 but were rescheduled to August 4 to cater for holidays of Eid el-Fitr and National Martyr’s Day celebrations in Juba.
Several delegates were confirmed to have started arriving in Addis Ababa ahead of the highly anticipated talks, IGAD officials said.
The talks bring together delegations of the Government led by President Salva Kiir, the SPLM/A (in opposition) led by former Riek Machar, former SPLM detainees and leaders, political parties as well as civil society and faith-based organizations.
President Salva Kiir (C) is welcomed by officials upon his arrival at the John Garang Mausoleum in Juba on July 30 for the celebrations of the country’s 9th annual Martyrs' Day
The new talks were expected to finalize the modalities for the implementation of the Ceasefire agreement signed by Machar and Kiir on May 9.
Both leaders have since accused each other of violating the ceasefire agreement, after fighting erupted in parts of South Sudan moment after the truce.
The fighting in South Sudan that started in December has claimed over 1,500 lives and displaced thousands, leading to a humanitarian crisis.
In June, IGAD mediators suspended talks in Addis Ababa citing failure by Machar’s delegation to turn up for the multi-stakeholder talks.
Last month, Machar’s team arrived at Entebbe Airport purportedly to meet President Yoweri Museveni but returned home after they were not received by government officials.
Youngsters attend an anniversary celebration of the Red Army Foundation (RAF) in Juba on July 29. In the early 1980s, the SPLA recruited and began training boys as young as 12 to fight in its independence battle with Sudan, in a group called the Red Army. The Red Army was later resurrected as the Red Army Foundation (RAF), an organisation dedicated to addressing social problems among former members and South Sudan's youth
A close-up of South Sudanese soldiers' rifles during a parade at the John Garang Mausoleum in Juba to celebrate the country’s 9th annual Martyrs' Day. The event is held each year to remember the sacrifices made by the two million people who died during the long civil war in Sudan before South Sudan declared its independence. The event was attended the by South Sudan president Salva Kiir and vice-president James Wani who lay a wreath at the tomb of late Garang, the founder of what is now the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), the ruling party in South Sudan
A member of South sudan's army, the SPLA prays during an anniversary celebration of the Red Army Foundation (RAF) in Juba
A man sits at the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Upper Nile State capital Malakal, South Sudan. Some 11,600 internally displaced persons (IDP) have been relocated from the areas the worst affected by the heavy rains to a new UN PoC site, according to the camp management team
Jerrycans set in a queue at a watering point of the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site
People sit in front of their makeshift shelters next to a mosquito infested pond on at the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Upper Nile State capital Malakal
Parties resume new S. Sudan talks today