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IGAD urges South Sudan national dialogue committee to include opposition

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East African ministers of foreign affairs at a meeting held in South Sudan’s capital Juba on Monday encouraged the national dialogue committee set up by President Kiir in reaching out to the opposition and called upon the committee members to expeditiously move forward in an inclusive, genuine and transparent manner.

The IGAD council of ministers’ meeting was chaired by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workheh Gebeyehu and attended by the foreign ministers of Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda, besides the cabinet minister of South Sudan Martin Elia and Djibouti’s Ambassador to South Sudan.

“The IGAD Council of Ministers underlines the importance of the National Dialogue as a complementary process to the implementation of the ARCSS and as a means to reconciliation of the South Sudanese at a grassroots level,” said the final communiqué released after the meeting today.

The foreign ministers of East Africa’s security and trading bloc condemned in the strongest terms the repeated violations of the permanent ceasefire by all parties to the conflict and ensuing violence targeting defenseless civilians including humanitarian agents, causing huge loss of lives and destruction of property.

The communiqué noted the positive response of the unity government to the establishment of the High Level Revitalization Forum for the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement and welcomed the commitment conveyed to the members of the IGAD Council of Ministers by President Salva Kiir to fully collaborate and implement the IGAD summit decision of 12th June 2017.

“The IGAD Council of Ministers urges all South Sudanese stakeholders to embrace the objectives of the High Level Revitalization Forum for the Implementation of the ARCSS and collaborate with the IGAD Special Envoy to achieve positive outcome within the timeframe agreed upon by the 57th Extra-Ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers,” said the communiqué.

The council empowered the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan in close collaboration with the Chairperson of JMEC to coordinate the revitalization process involving all stakeholders and institutions charged with the responsibility of the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement.

It urged all South Sudanese stakeholders to embrace the objectives of the High Level Revitalization Forum for the implementation of the peace agreement and collaborate with the IGAD Special Envoy to achieve positive outcome within the timeframe agreed upon by the 57th Extra-Ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers.

The IGAD Council of Ministers welcomed the efforts of the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni to reunite different factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and affirmed that the President’s initiative complements the decision by the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government to revitalize and achieve full implementation of the peace agreement.

The meeting recalled the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Salva Kiir and called upon the unity government to ensure the strict implementation of the ceasefire while urging all armed opposition groups to reciprocate and renounce violence.

The foreign ministers also welcomed the support of the AU, UN, EU, Troika (USA, UK and Norway) and all regional and international partners to the IGAD revitalization plan for the South Sudan peace process.

Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD), is an 8-member economic bloc that brings together Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.

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