After the failure of the peace talk between the two rivals in South Sudan, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) announced that it intends to implement a common plan and table a reasonable and comprehensive solution to end the crisis in South Sudan.
The peace talk, which was held in Addis Ababa until March 6, was expected to bring a solution for the youngest country in the world but failed after the two parties were unable to reach final agreement to form a transitional government.
In a statement for the people of South Sudan Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, Chairperson of IGAD, expressed his disappointment on the two negotiators President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar.
“We ask you, the people of South Sudan, to refuse to support those who militate for war, destruction and killing. We want you, the people, to be unequivocal with your leaders: choose reconciliation and not injustice; choose dialogue and not rigidity; choose peace and not conflict,” he said on Friday March 6 evening after the peace talk failed.
“President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar agreed that they would come to an agreement by March 5. That deadline has been missed. Talks continued this morning (Friday March 6), past the deadline. I regret to inform you that the talks did not produce the necessary breakthrough,” the PM said.
The PM also held talks with the leaders of the two parties on Friday morning at the peace talk venue at UNECA. On Thursday March 5, Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, who is the chief mediator of South Sudan’s peace talks, said that even on the planned final day they fail to agree on major issues like military and power sharing.
“In the coming days, I will consult with my colleagues, the IGAD leaders, partners and friends in the region, on the continent, and beyond to agree a common plan of action,” Hailemariam signaled about the next step the regional body is going to take.
He said that both President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar have assured the leaders of the IGAD member states that they are committed to peace. “At the same time, there are individuals on both sides who continue to beat the drums of war. This cannot be right. There can be no justification for the continuation of this conflict. The war must end now,” he strongly added.
Hailemariam said that the consequences of inaction are the continued suffering of the people of South Sudan. “This is unacceptable, both morally and politically. On behalf of the people of Ethiopia, and the people of the entire IGAD region, we stand with you (the people of South Sudan) at this difficult and disappointing time. We remain hopeful that the promise of peace will be fulfilled in the near future,” he said.
“On March 3, I urged President Kiir and Dr. Machar to make the necessary and difficult compromises to move out of this crisis. I asked them to be courageous in offering compromises and alternatives, rather than only reiterating old positions. Both regional and world leaders joined this call,” the PM said. “IGAD has tried to mediate the crisis as best it can, but we must acknowledge that our efforts have not yet produced the necessary results. Our efforts cannot continue unaltered and expect a different outcome; the peace process must be reinvigorated and reformed,” the PM said on his statement. “Together, we will hold the parties to their commitment to form a transitional government by July of this year,” the IGAD chair said.
In a related development, media agencies reported that an African Union inquiry calls for South Sudan’s president and his rival to be barred from a transitional government and for the oil-producing country to effectively be placed under AU control, quoting sources. The recommendations are directly at odds with a peace deal being negotiated that would retain Salva Kiir as president and appoint rebel leader Riek Machar as deputy.
Fighting between forces loyal to Kiir and rebels allied with Machar plunged South Sudan into a civil war in December 2013. At least 10,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million civilians displaced.