South Sudan: IGAD Calls Meeting On South Sudan Stalemate

Photo: UN
(File photo).

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Horn of Africa's regional stability watchdog, has called a meeting to iron out friction between President Salva Kiir and former rebel leader Dr Riek Machar over formation of a government of National Unity.

IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan Imail Wais asked all the parties on Thursday to attend a meeting on May 2 and 3 aimed at reaching a consensus on formation of the new government.

Delays in creating a neutral security force and enacting legislation essential to improving governance have led to a clash between President Kiir and Dr Machar on whether the new government should be formed on May 12, as scheduled.

"I write to invite you to a meeting of the leadership of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan regarding the status of the implementation of the peace agreement and the way forward that is scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 2 to 3 May 2019," a letter signed by Ambassador Wais read.

It also asked the South Sudan parties to the peace pact to send 3 delegates each.

President Kiir insisted this week he was ready to form the new government on May 12 as agreed last year and invited Machar to return to Juba.

Earlier Dr Machar had called for a six month extension, foremost to allow for integration of rival forces into one army and its training.

He also raised concerns over the number of states.

Dr Machar further threatened to withdraw from the peace process if his demands were not met, sparking fears of a return to another civil war.

The two arch-rival signed a peace deal last September in Addis Ababa- Ethiopia under the auspices of IGAD.

The agreement charged the two foes to work together again for the second time after the collapse of 2015 peace deal in 2016 which resulted to Dr Machar's escape to South Africa.

The war has claimed nearly 400,000 lives and left millions displaced.

Two weeks ago the two leaders attended a retreat at the Vatican where pope Francis kissed their feet, urging them to pursue peace.

The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is East Africa's worst after the Rwanda 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, according to the UN.

Half of South Sudan's population remains displaced some out of the country and others within the country.

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