, ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Aug 17 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and other regional leaders Sunday night held a five-hour closed-door meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ahead of Monday’s IGAD-Plus South Sudan peace process summit.
President Kenyatta was joined at the Sheraton Hotel by Presidents Salva Kiir of South Sudan, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia. The leader of the South Sudanese rebels, Riek Machar, also attended.
The leaders, who met until 11pm in the night, are Monday set to study the IGAD-Plus draft peace agreement on South Sudan, before presenting it to the warring parties for signature.
The IGAD-Plus peace initiative includes IGAD, the AU, five African countries, the Troika countries (the United States, the United Kingdom and Norway), the European Union, the United Nations, and China.
The United Nations has warned of unspecified sanctions against the belligerents should they refuse to sign the final peace agreement and form a “legitimate” transitional government.
The international lead mediator of the IGAD-Plus peace initiative, Seyoum Mesfin of Ethiopia, gave the warring sides Monday’s ultimatum to sign the peace deal without room for further extension saying ‘the delay has frustrated the international community’.
Key issues of disagreement include a power-sharing proposal between the government and rebels which is part of a compromise peace plan put forward by IGAD-plus initiative.