IGAD meets S. Sudan parties on governance, security matters

 ADDIS ABABA – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has convened a meeting that brings together South Sudanese warring parties to discuss governance and security issues ahead of a new round of peace talks scheduled for May 17.

The consultation session taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from May 15 to 16 reportedly aims a providing the various South Sudanese parties with key information to enable them to identify optimal security arrangements, power-sharing options and challenges in relation to the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

“In the intervening period between Phase II of the HLRF [High Level Revitalization Forum] and today [Wednesday], IGAD Council of Ministers has been engaging with your respective parties in Juba, Addis Ababa, and Pretoria, in order to bridge the gaps in your divergent views on the outstanding substantive issues”, said IGAD’s Director of Peace and Security Division, Tewolde Gebremeskel.

According to Tewolde, IGAD arranged the current seminar to stimulate insightful discussions and broaden participants’ perspectives, expressing optimism that the outcome will contribute to the deliberations at the next phase of the HLRF starting on 17 May.

The two-say seminar, the regional bloc said, provides an opportunity for the key representatives of the parties, leading on governance and security issues, to revisit general principles and practices relating to governance and security issues during political transitions.

The session on South Sudan’s governance system and security situations will be followed by a new HLRF, which according to IGAD officials, seeks to ensure a peace agreement is signed the warring parties involved in the conflict that has displaced millions of people.

“While the sessions are not for negotiation, the case studies and presentations are meant to enable participants to reflect, in a non-adversarial environment, on the specific challenges of transitioning in the South Sudanese context,” the regional bloc said in a statement.

The security and governance issues workshop is expected to, among others, better understanding of the challenges of permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements, created common understanding of the key concepts and options for transitional security arrangements as well as enhance knowledge that enables the participants to think creatively about solutions to the challenges of permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 when internal wrangles within its ruling party (SPLM) turned violent. The conflict, now in its fifth year, has seen tens of thousands of people killed.

(First Published by Sudan Tribune ).

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