By Taddeo Bwambale
IGAD mediators were on Monday forced to suspend a new round of South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after a delegation representing rebel leader Riek Machar did not turn up.
In a communiqué on Monday, IGAD announced it had adjourned the peace talks for ‘consultations’ but did not specify when the talks were likely to resume.
The multi-stakeholder roundtable talks would, for the first time, involve former detainees who are members of SPLM, government officials, political parties, civil society and faith-based organizations, to negotiate a peaceful end to the South Sudan conflict.
“The SPLM/A (In Opposition) failed to attend the multi-stakeholder roundtable negotiations. This is in contradiction to the 9 May 2014 Agreement as well as the 10 June 2014 Communiqué which provides for the inclusion and participation of other stakeholders in the negotiations for a new political dispensation in South Sudan including arrangements for a transitional government of national unity,” IGAD mediators said.
The new talks were expected to finalize the modalities for the implementation of a ceasefire agreement signed by Machar and President Salva Kiir on May 9.
Seyoum Mesfin, Chairman of IGAD Special Envoys to South Sudan, gives remarks at the launch of the Multi-stakeholder Roundtable Negotiations on June 16, 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. PHOTO/AFP
Former South Sudanese detainees also attended the launch of the Multi-stakeholder Roundtable Negotiations. PHOTO/AFP
According to the statement, IGAD special envoys will, during the adjournment, undertake broad consultations with South Sudanese stakeholders, the leaders of the IGAD region, the African Union, the United Nations Security Council and other friends and partners of South Sudan.
During the same period, the stakeholders are expected to consult and provide feedback on the draft framework for political negotiations toward a settlement of the crisis in South Sudan.
The Envoys will also follow up the full operationalization of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM) in accordance with UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2155.
The IGAD-led mediation urged the political leaders of South Sudan to ‘assume their responsibilities’ with the same resolve that their neighbours and the international community attach to this tragic situation.
Mediators asked parties to the peace talks to prepare for the next phase of negotiations and act quickly to meet the deadline endorsed by IGAD Heads of State and Government to complete dialogue on the formation of a transitional government of national unity within sixty days.
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Rebel leader Machar shuns new S. Sudan talks