The United Nations (UN) chief on Monday welcomed the decision by an eastern African bloc to extend the pre-transitional period for an additional 100 days for South Sudan to form a national unity government.
"The Secretary-General welcomes the decision of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers, further to the agreement by the South Sudanese parties under the auspices of Uganda and Sudan, to extend the pre-transitional period for an additional 100 days," Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said Monday at the daily news briefing.
The IGAD Council of Ministers on Sunday endorsed the 100-day extension for the formation of the South Sudan transitional government of national unity.
"The Secretary-General urges the parties to use this extension to make further progress on critical benchmarks, including security arrangements and the number and boundaries of states, to allow for the formation of an inclusive transitional government of national unity," said Haq.
"The Secretary-General also urges the Government of South Sudan to support the process by releasing the pledged amount of 100 million U.S. dollars through a transparent and accountable mechanism," he added.
"As IGAD has underscored, face-to-face meetings of the leadership of the parties will continue to be crucial in maintaining momentum.
"The Secretary-General reaffirms the critical importance of the role of IGAD and the African Union in the political process, and the continued readiness of the United Nations to support their efforts," said the spokesman.
Both South Sudan President Salva Kiir and the country's opposition leader Riek Machar agreed on the 100-day extension at a tripartite meeting in the Ugandan city of Entebbe on Thursday, arranged by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
At the meeting, Kiir and Machar also agreed to submitting an implementation report after the first 50 days.
The IGAD is a trade bloc with eight eastern African countries as its members, with a focus on development and environmental control. -Xinhua