, ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Nov 8 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn steered intensive talks that helped South Sudan’s political leaders to commit to an unconditional and complete end to hostilities.
The talks in Addis Ababa – that commenced on Thursday running through Friday into the wee hours of Saturday morning – culminated in resolutions that signaled an end to the South Sudan conflict.
The Government of South Sudan led by President Salva and the SPLM/A (in opposition) under former Vice President Riek Machar also agreed to immediately stop recruitment and mobilization of civilians.
And a communique issued at the end of the 28th Extra-ordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government attended by President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Omar Bashir (Sudan), Ismail Guelleh (Djibouti) and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Somalia) warned South Sudan warring parties that any violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement would invite stern interventions to protect life and restore peace and stability. These will include freeze of assets owned by the violators, travel bans and blocking supply of materials that could be used in war.
The IGAD leaders called on the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC), the United Nations Security Council and the entire international community to support the enforcement of the Addis Ababa resolutions.
IGAD, however, accepted the request by parties to the South Sudan conflict to be allowed a further 15 days to iron out the remaining outstanding issues.
Speaking after the resolutions were read out by Ethiopia’s special envoy for South Sudan, Amb. Seyoum Mesfin, President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President thanked IGAD and affirmed their commitment to an end to the suffering of the people of Africa’s youngest nation.
“As ordered by IGAD, I call upon all forces in South Sudan – especially SPLM/A and all other lethal forces – to remain in their barracks and only act in self-defense if attacked,” President Kiir said.
On his part, Dr. Machar said he was happy that an agreement had been reached that would enable South Sudan to pursue peace.