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IGAD’s peace talks for Khartoum on Friday

Parties to the HLRF in one of the conference halls in May 2018 (File photo by Jale Richard):

By Jale Richard

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has invited South Sudan parties and stakeholders to the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) to Khartoum for the next phase of peace talks.

According to an invitation letter sent by IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan ambassador Ismail Wais seen by the Juba Monitor, the next peace talks will start on June 29 to July 10 in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

The HLRF in Khartoum will focus on solving differences on the outstanding issues in governance and security arrangement in chapter one and two of the 2015 Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

The invitation comes in the wake of sustained face-to-face meetings between the two principal leaders, President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar. The two leaders met yesterday in Khartoum to follow up on their last week’s meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Sudanese President Hassan Omar Al Bashir and Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni met President Kiir and Dr. Machar before their face-to-face meeting.

President Kiir and Riek Machar failed to nail a deal from their face-to-face Addis Ababa meeting in Ethiopia last week. After the meeting, South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said President Kiir was not willing in any way to work again with Dr. Riek Machar.

Last week IGAD mandated President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir to facilitate a second round of face–to-face discussion between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr Riek Machar Teny within two weeks to build on the Addis Ababa face-to-face talks.

The meeting is aimed at discussing and resolving the outstanding issues on governance and security arrangements including measures proposed in the revised Bridging Proposal of the IGAD Council of Ministers; and discuss measures to be taken to rehabilitate the South Sudanese economy through bilateral cooperation between the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan.

It also decided that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will facilitate a third round of face-to-face discussion between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr Riek Machar Teny in Nairobi to facilitate the revitalization process and report the outcome and way forward to the upcoming Ordinary Session of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

Civil society group Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) welcomed the early invitation for the peace talks in Khartoum.

“The Khartoum phase of HLRF requires serious commitment from the south Sudanese conflicting parties in making effective compromises for attaining inclusive and sustainable for South Sudan,” CEPO’s Executive Director Edmund Yakani said in a press statement.

“The citizens and the world are fed up of these several sessions of the HLRF without tangible results. Majority of the citizens in the streets across the country are expressing disappointments. Frankly, they are saying the political elites are careless about their ongoing suffering from the violence across the country,” he added.

Yakani said the Khartoum peace talks may not bear fruits if the parties do not change their attitude of “win-lose” situation.

“Khartoum phase of HLRF will have great differences unless the conflicting parties change attitudes from rejecting the win-win approach for finding solutions to the outstanding issues for revitalizing the ARCSS Chapter One and Two,” he said.






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