As the conflict in South Sudan enters its fifth year, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has encouraged all South Sudanese to end the violence and peacefully resolve the crisis in the country as negotiations are set for next week.
According to his spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, on Friday Mr. Guterres urged South Sudanese Parties "to engage in good faith in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) -led High-Level Revitalization Forum set to begin in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, next week."
"The Secretary-General is convinced that with full backing by the region and the wider international community, this Forum provides a unique opportunity to bring all the parties to the conflict and other stakeholders to the negotiation table," Mr. Dujarric stressed.
The UN Spokesman said that Mr. Guterres further urged them "to seize the opportunity of this meeting to secure a new cessation of hostilities, address the implementation of the 2015 Peace Agreement, and develop revised timelines to reach its key benchmarks"
"The Secretary-General reiterates his deep appreciation for the work of the IGAD Special Envoy Ismail Wais, Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Chair Former President Festus Mogae and the African Union High Representative former President Alpha Oumar Konaré, for preparing the ground for this inclusive Forum that carries the promise of moving South Sudan out of the current catastrophic humanitarian and human rights crisis by bringing an end to this protracted conflict," the Spokesman concluded.
The IGAD High-Level Revitalization Forum was established to revitalize efforts to implement the 2015 peace agreement. It is a regional mechanism in Eastern Africa consisting of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
The world's youngest country, South Sudan has spent much of its short life mired in conflict, riven by a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his then former Vice-President Riek Machar, that erupted into full-blown war late in 2013.