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Sudan Tribune

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IGAD says South Sudan peace talks adjourned until 16 October

October 5, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has announced the suspension of the South Sudanese peace talks until 16 October, citing the need to consult with the top principals of the two warring parties over contentious issues as the necessity.

In a press release forwarded to Sudan Tribune issued on Sunday, IGAD also commended the parties for seeing a substantial progress in determining the arrangements necessary to implement a transitional government of national unity in South Sudan.

“This session of talks has made substantial progress than any other. The negotiating parties have demonstrated a great deal of political will and seriousness to close gaps on critical issues under discussion. We encourage the stakeholders to continue these positive efforts and to show more flexibility in the spirit of give and take, and compromise,” partly reads the press release signed by Hailemichael Gebreselasie, Communications Officer in the Office of the Special Envoys for South Sudan.

The statement explained that amongst the issues the parties discussed are the system of governance, function/mandate of the would-be transitional government, its structures, size of the cabinet, seat of the government, structure and size of parliament, pre-transitional and transitional period, decision making mechanism in government, dispute resolution mechanism in relation to the agreement and duties and responsibilities of the executive.

However, IGAD says although a number of agreements have been achieved, the few remaining issues are critical that require the parties at the level of the top principals to make bold decisions in order to reach an agreement.

“The people of South Sudan are yearning for peace. The IGAD Mediators and the International Community at large are urging them to end the war now,” reads the statement.

IGAD also decried the absence of representatives of other political parties during this session as president Salva Kiir’s government prevented them from leaving Juba, saying their absence was “harmful” to the inclusivity of the process and called on the government to allow them to join the talks.

“The IGAD Leaders, Special Envoys and partners of IGAD and friends of South Sudan are all calling for an end to the obstacles facing the representation of Political Parties to the talks. The Mediation will continue to engage all competent parties to unlock the impasse and ensure their participation in the upcoming negotiation,” it says.

The mediation also expressed its disappointment on the lack of the implementation of the
Cessation of Hostilities Agreements signed since 23 January and renewed by the two warring parties.

The Mediation further urged the parties to facilitate the flow of humanitarian assistances to reach the people who are in dire need of assistance; and to cooperate with and support free movements of all personnel working for humanitarian organizations.

The regional bloc stated that they adjourned the negotiations to enable the stakeholders to undertake further consultations on the relevant issues.

“In the coming days, the IGAD Special Envoys will continue their engagement with the leaders of IGAD, Principals of the peace process including with H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan and Dr. Riek Machar, Former Vice-President and leader of the SPLM/A In-Opposition and with the friends and partners of South Sudan,” the statement further explained.

It further renewed IGAD calls to all parties to demonstrate flexibility and goodwill in working to agree a lasting settlement that resolves the ongoing crisis in South Sudan and thanked the “partners of IGAD, AU, UN, Troika, the Governments of China, Japan, Denmark, Netherlands, and all members of IGAD Partners Forum-IPF for their support and call on them
to further enhance their support and cooperation.”

Peace talks between the two sides will resume two weeks later in Addis Ababa, instead of in Bahir Dar, after the two leaders meeting.

Meanwhile rebel negotiators have accused government of using delaying tactics to prolong the 9-month-old conflict which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and forced over a million to flee their homes.

(ST)