Your Excellency, Chairperson of IGAD, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government, Honorable Ministers,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. It is a great honour to report to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of IGAD the progress made since June 2017 on the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) on the Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in South Sudan.

  2. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my deepest appreciation to the IGAD Chair and the Council of Ministers for the continuous support and guidance extended to my Office in the past year. We would not have reached this stage had it not been for the close collaboration between our offices.

  3. The Council made key decisions that enabled a successful facilitation of the HLRF. Among others, the Council:

  • Realized the signature of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and followed up its implementation;

  • Approved the Guidelines and the accompanying Indicative Matrix of the HLRF activities;

  • Empowered the Special Envoy to coordinate with the JMEC and involve all stakeholders and institutions charged with the responsibility of implementing the ARCSS;

  • undertook shuttle diplomacy with the parties to mediate them to reconcile their positions on governance and transitional security arrangements;

  • closely followed up and contribute to the development of Bridging Proposals on the negotiating positions of the Parties; and

  • identified and solicited the participation of high level facilitators for the mediation.

    Honorable Chairperson, Excellences,

    4. During the two rounds of the HLRF, the Parties have negotiated on the text of the ARCSS in order to reach agreement on the contentious provisions. The high-level

facilitators also had separate consultation with the parties during the Forum. Following the Forum, we identified five outstanding issues on matters pertaining to governance and other five issues on security arrangement.

  1. On that basis, we developed proposals to bridge the negotiating positions of the parties on those issues. We engaged the parties through one to one consultation, plenary mediation, written reflection, shuttle diplomacy, and inter- linked intensive consultations (IIC) to pave the way for compromises and agreement.

  2. Despite, the significant progress on the five outstanding issues on security arrangement, the parties have not come close to each other on matters concerning governance.

  3. On security arrangements, the parties agreed on:

    • the duration for activities in the cantonment sites to be 90 days;

    • the establishment of Joint Integrated Police and Security Services;

    • the composition of the Joint Transitional Security Committee;

    • on unification of forces rather than integration;

    • the establishment of a special protection unit for VIPs;

    • the full deployment of the RPF in accordance with its mandate and for IGAD to request UNSC for a review of its mandate to include VIPs protection, and

    • on the architecture of the transitional security arrangements.

  1. Nonetheless, there remains four key areas of disagreement on the security arrangements including: determination of demilitarized areas; modalities and exemption from cantonment; timeframe for unification of forces, and the number of parties’ representatives in the Joint Transitional Security Committee.

  2. Pertaining to governance, the parties agreed on the need for an inclusive transitional government with collegial decision- making process. However, disagreements remain on:

    * the responsibility sharing ratio in the executive and the states;

  • the question of the number of states and establishment of an inclusive boundaries commission to determine the issue;

  • the size and composition of the Legislature. Honorable Chairperson, Excellencies,

  1. While our concerted efforts to realise sustainable peace in South Sudan are yet to bear the direly needed agreement between the parties, I would like to commend the parties for attending and making use of the Forum.

  2. Nevertheless, the Forum faced serious difficulties many of which manifest the complexity of the conflict in South Sudan. Throughout the duration of the HLRF persisting violation of the CoHA, lack of trust among the parties, lack of commitment and good will from the parties, lack of political will to make compromise, and the absence of key principals at the talks posed grave challenge for the success of the HLRF.

12. Honourable Chairperson, Excellencies,

I request the Assembly to endorse the recommendations of my report submitted for your consideration. Accordingly, I request the Assembly:

  1. To Endorse the final bridging proposal;

  2. To engage the parties to sign the revitalized Agreement prepared based on IGAD’s bridging proposal;

  3. To endorse the targeted punitive measures endorsed by the IGAD Council of Ministers during its 62nd Extra- Ordinary Session;

  4. To make a final decision to ensure unimpeded participation of Dr. Riek Machar in the peace process;

Honorable Chairperson, Excellencies

13. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairperson of IGAD Council of Ministers, Council Members, the High-Level facilitators, the Chairperson of JMEC, the Chairperson of CTSAMM, and members of the Taskforce for their support.

14. I also thank the African Union, United Nations, European Union, Troika, China, Japan, and members of the IPF for their contribution to this process.

Thank you

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