By Taddeo Bwambale
An extra-ordinary session of IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government is scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
Key on the agenda will be the conflict in South Sudan and an assessment of the six-month peace talks that seek to bring an end to the fighting.
The IGAD-led mediation team, in a statement on Sunday, confirmed that member states would meet in the Ethiopian capital on June 10.
Last week, mediators postponed the next round of formal peace talks between delegations representing South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar.
On May 9, Kiir and Machar signed a ceasefire agreement but within 24 hours both parties were blaming each other for violating the truce after heavy clashes ensued.
The IGAD mediation team on Thursday convened a two-day ‘multi-stakeholder symposium,’ bringing together more than 250 South Sudanese from government, the opposition, political parties, faith-based groups and civil society organizations.
According to a statement, the symposium featured international experts who offered insight into key areas of negotiations that including: transitional governance arrangements and interim institutions; justice, reconciliation and healing; security arrangements; and constitutional development and reform.
“Participants informally explored and discussed the issues with the subject matter experts, in order to further advance their understanding and concept of the issues,” the statement said.
IGAD Special Envoy General Lazaro Sumbeiywo, who chaired the deliberations, said the event was not a platform for negotiations, but served as a forum to educate, inform and share knowledge and experiences with participants.
Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Tedros Adhanom drew delegates to the May 9 Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan, which committed all parties to the principle of inclusivity and the involvement of key stakeholders from South Sudan in the peace process.
“The region and the international community strongly believe that the only way to resolve the crisis in South Sudan is through genuine and inclusive political dialogue,” said the Minister who is also the Chairman of the IGAD Council of Ministers.
He appealed to IGAD member states and development partners to assist the South Sudanese reach a solution that is sustainable, and one that reflects their common vision.
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IGAD Assembly to discuss South Sudan conflict