August 10, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia’s prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn is in Uganda to attend the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development summit on South Sudan.
The summit comes one week before the 17 August deadline set by mediators for South Sudan warring factions to ink a final peace agreement.
Peace talks between South Sudan government and the armed opposition faction aimed at ending its ongoing civil war resumed in Addis Ababa last week under the IGAD-Plus peace initiative.
The IGAD-Plus mediation involves the United Nations, African Union, the Trioka trio of the United States, the United Kingdom and Norway, the European Union (EU), China as well as five African countries.
Analysts say the young nation could be slapped with more sanctions and an arms embargo should the conflicting parties failed to accept a regional peace and power-sharing deal by 17 August, 2015.
The Ethiopian prime minister will meet the Ugandan, Sudanese and Kenyan heads of states to discuss the current situation in South Sudan and developments on the ongoing peace negotiations.
Regional leaders, officials say, will consult on ways how to push the two warring factions reach a final peace agreement to arrest 20-months long running conflict and form a transitional government.
The summit will also discuss a range of regional issues including on the political crisis in Burundi and security situation in Somalia particularly the fight against the Islamic terrorist group, Al Shabaab.
Despite mounting regional and international pressures, the two South Sudanese rivals are yet to reach a comprehensive peace deal.
The conflict, which erupted on December 2013 has killed tens of thousands and displaced over two million people in South Sudan.
Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Ethiopia said the number of South Sudanese refugees crossing borders is on the rise.
The agency said fighting in South Sudan has continued to drive more refugees, mostly women and children into neighbouring Ethiopia.
According to the UNHCR, on average, 211 South Sudanese stream across the border into Ethiopia at a daily. Most of them, it said, are entering through the Pagak, Akobo, Burbiey and Raad entry points of Gambella state that borders the world’s youngest nation.
Nearly 285,000 South Sudanese have reportedly entered Ethiopia since conflict erupted in the South Sudanese capital, Juba in 2013. These numbers stated do not reportedly include the nearly 65,000 South Sudanese who were in Ethiopia before conflict broke out.