press releaseBy Martin Jada Gabriel
Nairobi — The Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) has announced that face-to-face talks by all stakeholders to the crisis in South Sudan will commence by December 31, 2013, calling on the government and the rebel groups to immediately cease hostilities.
The Government prior to the visit of President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Thursday had accepted unconditional dialogue with the rebels led by the ex-Vice President Dr. Riek Machar. Dr Riak Machar according to media reports chose Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as the venue for the talks.
However, it was not clear if the IGAD member countries have made direct contact with Dr Riak Machar. In a joint communiqué released by the IGAD heads of states in their 23rd extraordinary summit which was hold purposely on the crisis in South Sudan, the leaders warned that if the stakeholders didn't cease from hostilities within four days from the date of the communiqué, "the summit will consider taking further measures against any party who will fail to adhere to the call".
The summit requested the Government to undertake urgent measures in pursue of an all-inclusive dialogue including the status of the detainees in connection of their roles in the failed coup in accordance with the laws of the Republic of South Sudan.
Nevertheless, many countries have already expressed their support to the peaceful resolution of the political crisis in the country. The regional body, IGAD has taken the lead to mediate the talks.