ENDORSED – IGAD Council of Ministers approve Khartoum Agreement
Members of IGAD Foreign Ministers during the 59th Extraordinary Session of Council of Ministers held in Addis (file photo):
By Jale Richard
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers on Saturday endorsed the Khartoum Declaration Agreement signed by President Salva Kiir, rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar and other parties to South Sudan peace process.
The IGAD Council meeting was chaired by Hirut Zemene, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on June 30th in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on the sideline of the 31st Ordinary Summit of the African Union [AU] to discuss progress in the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) on the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.
“The Council endorsed the Khartoum Declaration of 27th June 2018, the agreement on a new Transitional Period of thirty-six months to be preceded by one hundred and twenty days of Pre-Transition period, and the resolution by parties to conclude on all the outstanding governance and security issues in the IGAD bridging proposal, the opening of humanitarian corridors, release of prisoners of war and political detainees, as well as the request to African Union and IGAD member states to deploy the necessary forces to supervise the permanent ceasefire, a statement from the IGAD South Sudan office said.
The meeting was attended by Mohamoud Ali Yussuf, Djiboutian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Sam Kutesa, Ugandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulkadir Ahmedkheyr Abdi, Somalian State Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mohammed Idris, Sudanese State Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The sideline meeting was held in accordance to the decision of the 32nd Extra-Ordinary Summit of IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and the Government in Addis Ababa, in June 2018.
The June Extra-Ordinary Summit instructed the Council to give guidance to the Special Envoy for South Sudan on the remaining HLRF tasks at the sideline of the upcoming Ordinary Summit of the African Union in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
“The Council welcomed the progress being made by the HLRF parties in the ongoing face -to- face talks in Khartoum and the declaration of a permanent ceasefire throughout the Republic of South Sudan,” the statement said.
“The Council reiterated IGAD determination to bring peace to South Sudan and observed that good progress has already been made, and resolved that the HLRF shall continue at a higher level in Khartoum and Nairobi and its outcome shall be decided in the next Summit,” it added.
The IGAD Council of Ministers also stated that “it is not helpful to pursue punitive measures at this stage” given the latest developments in the peace process and the need to implement the permanent ceasefire and achieve an inclusive peace agreement.
The Council appealed to the African Union Ad-Hoc Committee for South Sudan, and all international partners and friends of South Sudan, to continue supporting the region’s effort to bring peace and implementation of its outcome.