By Steven Candia
A summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which was to take place Saturday in the South Sudan capital of Juba to discuss the crisis in the country has been postponed sine die.
The summit of the IGAD heads of state was to also discuss urgent issues concerning the peace dialogue and how to achieve stability in South Sudan.
The permanent Secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs Ambassador James Mugume said they received communication from the IGAD secretariat alerting them of the cancellation.
“We got communication on Friday that the meeting had been postponed and another date will be communicated,” Mugume said.
Asked about the reason for the cancellation of the summit Mugume said “I think the secretariat is in a better position to answer that.”
President Yoweri Museveni was among the several heads of state from the various IGAD member states expected to attend the summit.
In an interview with The New Vision on Friday foreign affairs state minister Okello Oryem had expressed optimism the president Museveni would use the forum to raise critical issues with regard to Uganda pulling out its troops from South Sudan.
Central to the talks would be the issue of the formation of the Protection and Deterrent Force (PDF) which is expected to be deployed the troubled country to avert further conflict. This is the second time that an IGAD slated to be held in Juba is being postponed, the first being in January after clashes erupted in mid December.
The summit if held would come as fighting still rages in the South Sudan northern town of Bentiu in the oil rich Unity State between SPLA and rebels loyal to former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and against the back drop of the expiry of the time frame for Uganda to pull out its forces from the country. The deadline expired on April 15.
In March regional Heads of State and governments in a summit authorized the prompt deployment of a PDF from the region to help restore peace and stability in the country.
Juba IGAD summit postponed again