Kampala — The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) has approved commencement of the second phase of the 'High Level Revitalisation Forum' for the South Sudan peace talks from February 5 to February 16 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
It is expected that the revitalisation forum, to be attended by the warring parties in the South Sudan conflict, will come up with "concrete measures to restore permanent ceasefire" and also "develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic election at the end of the transition period" later this year.
The resumption of the peace talks was approved by foreign affairs ministers of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, who held a meeting at the weekend on the sidelines of the 30th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa.
The ministers' meeting was also attended by former Bostwana president Festus Mogae, the chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission that monitors implementation of the 2016 South Sudan peace agreement, Igad's executive secretary Mahboub Maalim, and special envoys from European Union, US, United Kingdom, China and Norway.
Mr Mogae said several peace violations have been reported in the Upper Nile, Jonglei and Central Equatoria states, and further called for sanctions against the "ceasefire violators."
The Igad ministers, in a joint communique, decried recent confrontational remarks made by officials from the government side led by President Salva Kiir and the opposition side led by his former vice president, Dr Riek Machar, against the cessation of hostilities agreement which both sides committed to earlier.
The first phase of the revitalisation took place last month, reviewing key points raised during previous consultative meetings whose outcomes are said to be key, but its outcomes were disproved, especially by President Kiir's government.