(Addis Ababa 03-10-2017)The IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government convened on 12 June 2017 in Addis Ababa decided inter alia to revitalize the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) and entrusted the mandate to the IGAD Council of Ministers. As per this decision the IGAD Council of Ministers were tasked “to discuss concrete measures to restore permanent cease fire, to full implementation of the peace agreement, and to develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic election at the end of the transition period.’’ The IGAD Leaders appointed a Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ambassador Ismail Wais, who will help the Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers and consult widely prior to the convening of High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF).
Pursuant to his mandate the Special Envoy in collaboration with JMEC, CTSAMM, UNMISS and the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to Sudan and South Sudan was engaged, in the last 2 months, in the mapping of the potential participants of the HLRF. During the pre-forum consultation phase the Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers accompanied by his colleagues, members of the Council and the Special Envoy will meet with the parties to the ARCSS and estranged groups. The Consultation has started in Addis Ababa and will continue in the next 2 weeks in Pretoria, Khartoum and Juba.
On 28 and 29 September, 2017 the IGAD Special Envoy met with the Chairperson of the Federal Democratic Party of South Sudan (FDPSS) Mr.Gabriel Changson and the representatives of South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC). This was followed by consultations on Sep. 30 and October 2 co-chaired by the State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia Mrs. Hirut Zemene, acting on behalf of the Chairperson of IGAD Council of Ministers, Workeneh Gebeyehu and H.E Abdulkadir Ahmed Kheyr Abdi, the State Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia who met the teams led by Gen. Pagan Amum, former detainee and member of the SPLM, Mme Rebeca Garang, the wife of the late John Garang and General Thomas Cirillo, Chairperson of the National Salvation Front (NSF).
The consultation undertaken so far went as planned and reflected the spirit of the IGAD leadership to immediately address and find solution to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan by bringing to the table the Government and the opposition armed and non-armed groups to discuss the way forward towards the full and timely implementation of the peace agreement. The groups met so far stated their full and unconditional support to the IGAD initiative and affirmed their readiness to engage in earnest in the renewed IGAD initiative. The opposition groups consulted so far expressed their support for the IGAD Revitalization Process and in principle support IGAD’s position on the need for an unconditional permanent ceasefire.
Mrs Hirut Zemene speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers and Ambassador Ismail Wais informed the South Sudanese groups that IGAD is extremely concerned with the security and humanitarian situation prevailing in South Sudan and will continue to follow the developments in the country and will never abandon its responsibility to assist the people of South Sudan achieve peace and resolve the humanitarian crisis facing it at the moment. Mrs Hirut and Ambassador Wais engaged the South Sudanese groups mentioned above, seeking their views on immediate and unconditional ceasefire, the timelines of the implementation of the agreement and ways and means of enforcing the agreement. They informed the groups that the HLRF enjoys full support of the international community and that IGAD is working closely together with the AU, UN, EU and Troika (Norway, UK and US) as well as all IGAD partners to achieve a successful outcome of the HLRF.