, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 27 – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has given South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar until Tuesday to hold face-to-face talks.
Once the four day deadline passes the IGAD member states of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan said they would be forced to take further action.
They however stopped short of expounding on what that further action will be in a communiqué read by Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Tedros Adhanom.
“The stakeholders in the Republic of South Sudan welcomed the commitment by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to an immediate cessation of hostilities and called upon Dr Riek Machar and other parties to make similar commitments,” he said.
IGAD also required of Kiir and Machar to rein in on their troops and guarantee the safety of women, children, humanitarian workers and unarmed civilians in general.
“The summit strongly condemns criminal acts of murder, sexual violence, looting and other criminal acts against civilians and unarmed combatants by any actor and demand that all involved be held responsible by their de-facto and or de jure leaders,” they underscored.
IGAD joined the United States legislature in condemning Machar’s attempt to secure power through a coup as opposed to a democratic process and appointed Kenyan General Lazarus Sumbeiywo and Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin of Ethiopia to facilitate the peace talks.
They however also welcomed the United Nation’s resolution to bolster their peace keeping force in South Sudan saying it would complement their political efforts to restore peace in the newly-formed nation.
The IGAD member states also pledged their support for the protection of key infrastructure and installations in South Sudan, a job Uganda had been charged with.
“The Summit commends the effort of the Republic of Uganda in securing critical infrastructure and installations in South Sudan and pledges its support to these efforts,” the communiqué reads.
The communiqué also stressed that it was imperative that those detained on suspicion of involvement in the alleged coup be treated humanely and tried within the confines of South Sudan’s laws.
The talks which took place this afternoon were attended by Djibouti, Uganda, Somalia and Ethiopia’s Heads of State at State House Nairobi.
Kiir was represented by his Foreign Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial while Sudan was represented by its First Vice President Bakri Saleh.