February 4, 2018 (JUBA) – Amid the growing regional and international pressures, South Sudan’s government on Friday pledged readiness to participate with an open heart in the upcoming peace revitalization talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The second phase of the High-Level revitalization Forum (HLRF) convenes on February 5 to 16, 2018 in Addis Ababa between the signatories of the peace agreement including, delegates representing the government, political parties and oppositions and Civil Society organizations.

The process will discuss concrete measures to restore permanent ceasefire; full and inclusive implementation of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS); and develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic election at the end of the transition period.

Presidential adviser on security affairs Tut Kew Gatluak said on Friday that a delegation representing the government under the leadership of President Salva Kiir would go to the IGAD brokered process with open heart and mind to negotiate an end to the bloodshed in the country.

“The President of the Republic, his Excellency, General Salva Kiir Mayardit is a man of peace. He has directed to the (negotiating) team to prepare and go to the peace revitalization and participate with open minds and hearts. So it is true. The team is ready,”. said Gatluak.

“It is actually the desire in fulfilment of the government plan to resolve the dispute amicably. There is a need to seek room for open dialogue without conditions and start to discuss the national issues with frankness,” he added.

The IGAD which mediates the process, the African Union and the international community said frustrated by the failure of the warring parties in South Sudan to commit themselves to the humanitarian truce and to create a conducive environment for the revitalization process.

The presidential aide made the remarks before the imposition of U.S. sanctions on South Sudan. However, he didn’t comment on the different calls for sanctions on the warring parties for the violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

On the 27 January, President Festus Mogae the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Chairman called to sanction the violators of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

Also, in an unusual shift, the African Union on Monday said it was open to imposing sanctions on leaders violating ceasefires in South Sudan, joining a growing chorus of officials who say those prolonging the conflict must be punished.

”We need to act against those who, with impunity, are continuing to massacre their peaceful populations,” the head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, told reporters at the AU Summit held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

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