The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has warned the warring factions of South Sudan that it will not tolerate any further violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

While opening the (continuation of the ) second high-level revitalization forum on South Sudan in Addis Ababa Thursday, Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister and current IGAD Council of Ministers Chairperson Dr. Workineh Gebeyehu has called on all South Sudanese parties to reach to consensus and to maintain the ceasefire by eliminating trust deficit to achieve peace and security in the country.

He further indicated that IGAD is ready to take actions against the two sides if they attempt to violate the agreement again.

“There must be compliance with the cessation of hostility agreement signed on December 21, 2017, an agreement you have all signed. IGAD will not tolerate any further violation of the agreement. We are not saying this only for the sake of saying” Dr. Workneh stressed.

Dr. Workneh recalled that the two sides continued their firing exchanges only two days after signing the first cessation of hostilities agreement on December 2017 and later intensified by both sides since second high-level revitalization forum held in February.

Ambassador Dr. Ismail Wais, IGAD special envoy for South Sudan on his part said that in the meantime since February, second high level revitalization forum held, up to this forum IGAD special envoy for South Sudan office with the Council of ministers were working for peace in South Sudan. He added that shuttled diplomacies, intensive consultations and workshops were held on security arrangement and governance.

The cessation of hostilities agreement is violated by both signatories of the agreement he said adding that the continuation of this second high-level revitalization forum might resolve the differences and bring peace to the country.

 The Council of Ministers Chairperson vowed the patience so far is too much and there will be punitive actions if the agreement is violated again.

“The monitoring mechanism now has clearly identified those that have violated the agreement; hence the IGAD Council of Ministers is ready to submit a proposal to approve the actions on targeted sanctions, to this end, we hope to hold IGAD summit shortly after the conclusion of the forum”, Dr Workneh said.

He called all concerned parties to narrow their gaps to achieve peace and security of their country to reach in to a win-win solution and to work on trust deficit to martial the future of South Sudan with forgiveness and new spirit.

Dr. Workneh stated that the final responsibility is that of the two parties as he expressed his statement with the popular saying “a horse may take you to the battle field, but cannot fight your battle”.

The high-level revitalization forum will stay convened for five days of which the first two days are devoted to a discussion between the two conflicting parties of South Sudan without the involvement of negotiators, according to Ethiopian State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hirut Zemene.

According to Hirut there is a good atmosphere within the parties and expressed hope that the forum may come up with a fruitful result for the people of South Sudan.

First published by Ethiopian Herald.

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