October 2, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan has welcomed the decision by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to release the official timetable for for the revitalization forum to start consultations with South Sudanese leaders and the citizens on the peace process.
- S. Sudan cabinet affairs minister Martin Elia Lomoro (Photo KT Press)
Consultations, according to the timetable, will run from 13-17 October, with leaders in South Sudan’s coalition government to be consulted first.
South Sudan’s cabinet affairs minister, Martin Elia Lomuro told reporters on Monday that the government and all the stakeholders are prepared to participate in the revitalization process, but insisted that it was not a renegotiation of the peace deal.
“Transitional government of national unity and the stakeholders have welcomed the IGAD initiative and we are ready to participate in the process. This is just an evaluation of the peace agreement to see areas where progresses have made and where there is a need to fast track the implementation. It is not the renegotiation of the peace. The IGAD foreign ministers meeting which was convened here in Juba was very clear”, he told reporters on Monday.
The leader of political parties allied to the government, Lomuro said he will, together with his agriculture counterpart, Onyoti Adigo represent the other political parties in the coalition government.
In June, a summit of IGAD heads of state and government decided to convene a high-level revitalization forum to discuss concrete measures to restore a permanent ceasefire and achieve full peace implementation in South Sudan. It was resolved that all groups should be included in discussions aimed at restoring a permanent ceasefire.
The consultative meetings, the timetable says, will first begin with leaders in the unity government. It will therefore start with President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Taban Deng Gai, and members of the ex-detainees participating in the coalition government.
The process will then be expanded to include rebel leader Riek Machar, former agriculture minister Lam Akol, the secretary general of all the factions of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Pagan Amum and Gen.Thomas Cirillo who defected from the government in March and formed his own rebel movement separate from the armed opposition under the overall leadership of Machar.
General Peter Gatdet Yaak, General Johnson Olony and Lieutenant General and Bapiny Monytuil will be consulted separately. The IGAD delegation will also meet and hold talks with the members of civil society organizations and faith-based groups during their consultations.
A team from IGAD, headed by Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Workneh Gobeyehu will carry out the consultations on the peace process. The consultations process will begin on 13 October and end on 17.
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.
South Sudan government earlier warned that the revitalization forum by the regional bloc, which mediated the 2015 peace accord, should not be another platform for negotiation of the peace agreement between the two factions to the conflict.
Over a million people have fled South Sudan since conflict erupted in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir sacked Machar from the vice-presidency. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced in South Sudan’s worst ever violence since it seceded from Sudan in 2011.