IGAD invites key opposition representatives to Ethiopia
Ismail Wais, IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan (file photo by Jale Richard):
By Jale Richard
South Sudan’s peace mediating body, the Inter-governmental Authority on Development has invited key South Sudanese representatives of each Opposition Party to Addis Ababa for consultations.
In a letter dated 6th May, 2018 from the IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan Ismail Wais obtained by the Juba Monitor, the IGAD Council of Ministers has decided to intensify its engagement with the parties with a view to identifying possible options for unlocking the stalemate during the next peace talks.
“In order for the process to be focused and meaningful, the engagements need to be limited to representatives of the parties,” partly reads the letter addressed to the parties.
“I would therefore request you to nominate five representatives to come to Addis Ababa for the consultations from the 10th May-12th 2018,” adds the letter.
IGAD has been conducting consultations with the parties and stakeholders ahead of the scheduled resumption of peace talks on May 17.
The Council of Ministers had consulted with civil society representatives, the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition, and other Political Parties. IGAD delegates also met with representatives of the Transitional Government of National Unity last month.
According to ambassador Wais, positions of South Sudanese parties still remain “quite far apart” during the recent consultations and that there should be more engagement on the sticking issues.
“In order, therefore, to maximize the likelihood of reaching final agreement during the next round, which begins on 17 May 2018, the Council of Ministers and the Special Envoy consider that it is necessary to intensify the engagement with and between the parties,” the letter said.
The regional trade and security bloc recently adjourned the South Sudan peace talks to 17-21 May to give time for more consultations before the resumption of the talks.
Only five representatives will go for the consultations beginning from the 10th May to the 12th May 2018 before resumption of the talks five days later.