The Igad Council of Ministers on Sunday endorsed the 100-day delay in formation of the South Sudan transitional government of national unity.
The highly expected formality by the council of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development approves the agreement that President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar reached in Entebbe, Uganda, last week, in a tripartite meeting arranged by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.
At the meeting on Thursday, Kiir and Macharagreed to delay the government by 100 days, but to submit an implementation report after the first 50 days.
Uganda and Sudan, guarantors of the peace deal also offered to provide interim security arrangements for the pre-transitional team as it goes about dealing with the main contentious issues.
The council's move means that a special committee former by mediators, parties to the conflict and guarantors of the peace deal will start work immediately, with priority on settling the debate on the number of regional states as well as security arrangements.
The council's meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday asked President Kiir to immediately disburse the $100 million (Sh10.2 billion) needed to implement the peace deal, whose deadline has been missed twice already.
Kiir, Machar and various splinter political groups had on September 12, 2018 signer a "revitalised" peace agreement (R-ACRSS) and forecast a three-year transitional government of national unity (TGoNU) to have been former by May 12, 2018.
However, parties continually failed to agree on number of regional states to have, security for VIPs, cantonment for troops and merger of splintered military.
In May, Igad agreed to postpone the formation of that government to November 12, a deadline that also looked unlikely to be met.
Sunday's move by the council, chaired by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew, was also significant because it relaxed its stance in May, when it said there wouldn't be further delays.
The council further welcomed the Outcome Document of the Ministerial consultative meeting with parties to the R-ARCSS that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 9.
That meeting endorsed the agreement of the Tripartite Summit, and the Outcome Document including the agreement to extend the Pre-Transitional Period for 100 days effective November 12.
"[It] called upon the guarantors and the parties to urgently operationalise the new mechanism agreed upon in the Entebbe Tripartite Summit of November 7, 2019, and to prepare the terms of reference of the new mechanism by taking into consideration the mandate and work of existing agreement, mechanisms and institutions."
In this regard, the council directed that the new mechanism work closely and coordinate with the National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC), Igad's Special Envoy for South Sudan, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM).