The 31st Extra-ordinary IGAD’s Summit: on the Revitalisation of the Peace Agreement

Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey

Originaly Posted on June 14, 2017

By an official letter to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, IGAD, Member States, the Chairperson and Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, H. E. Hailemariam Desalegn, invited  all the Presidents and the Heads of Governments to the 31st Extra-ordinary Summit “to be held in Addis Ababa, 12 June 2017.” The letter highlighted on the difficulties that surround and blocking the implementation trajectory, of the August 2015’s Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, ARCSS.” The letter called for united efforts from the IGAD, AU, UN and the international community at large, to double their efforts and help South Sudan to pull out of the human tragedy and death. The letter expressed that the ARCSS should be: Revitalised, commit and agree to activate the ceasefire, energize and deploy the UN Protection and peacekeepers and schedule the implementation of the ARCSS to catchup with the transition period. Some concerned commentators expressed doubts as to capabilities of IGAD mediators. They said, “let’s wait and see!”

Significantly, the unanimous response by Presidents: Omer Hassan Al Bashir of Sudan, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Prime Ministers of Djibouti and Somalia, along with the Minister of foreign Affairs of Kenya, confirmed explicit solidarity and commitment of the IGAD’s countries’ leaders to stay the heat of war and humanitarian disasters, deploying the best approach possible to arrive to an inclusive, genuine and acceptable peace for South Sudan and its lovely people. Expressly, the continuous violence, war, internal and external displacement of the citizens from their homes and humanitarian plights are seriously social and political issues, which have agitated and generated the worldwide concerns, astonishment and sympathy to stand and quench the fire of death and destruction.

The Chairperson of IGAD, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, had guided the Summit with great impartiality, neutrality, high level of leadership for the region and clear intention to resolve the armed conflict, once and for all, in South Sudan, The Presidents and Head of Governments in the Neighbourhood of South Sudan, are definitely aware of the fact that, the social, political, economic and security implications of this war are infiltrating into their countries’ lives, in all aspects of livelihood. Equally, the UN Security Council, AU Security Council and the international community, to larger extend, are very scared of war crimes and suffering of the people, wondering to how best they could contribute in saving the “bleeding to death” Republic of South Sudan. They grade South Sudan, for now, as topping the world in terms of human rights violations and buses to humanitarian international law. All are agreed, in this Regional Summit, that “there is no alternative to peaceful resolution of this ‘senseless’ conflict.”

In considerate to the report of the Transitional Government of National Unity, TGoNU, substantiated  by the IGAD Representative and Chairperson of the country’s Join Evaluation and Monitoring Committee, JEMC, the UNMISS and Troika (USA, UK and Norway), confirmed that the implementation of the ARCSS, has effectively began, but has not gone far enough, emphatically on security issues and, ultimately, the secession of hostilities and ceasefire.

The Summit, in my opinion, has made very forceful decisions, with emphasis on: (a) the ARCSS is the only roadmap to peaceful settlement to the conflict; (b) complete plan and schedule for the implementation of the ARCSS within the transitional period provided; (c) ceasefire must be agreed and upheld by all the warring parties; (d) supports the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee, provided that, “it is inclusive;” and (d) the warring parties, even the estranged groups, should be included. To resolve these working issues, the Summit has decided to revitalise and recommend the way forward. This way forward is carried by decision number 16 (see the text).

Decision or recommendation number 16, stipulates: “Decides to urgently convene a High-level Revitalisation Forum of the parties to the ARCSS, including estranged groups, to discuss concrete measures to restore permanent ceasefire, to full implementation of the Peace Agreement and to develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic elections at the end of the transition period; mandates the IGAD Council of Ministers to urgently convene and facilitate this Forum in collaboration with relevant stakeholders; and directs the Chairperson of JMEC and the Executive Secretary of IGAD to provide the necessary secretariat and logistical arrangements.”

Out of the nineteen recommendations, number 16 is centre and important matters of ceasefire, inclusions of factions that have broken away from the SPLM, SPLM IO, SPLM FDs and others like Dr. Lam’s SPLM DC, which was not a part of rebellion until 2016, Changson’s federal party and Thomas Cirilo’s. But those who committed to change through the use of force may continue if that is the principle of their peacemaking. I think this decision renews, indirectly, a return to dialogue and renegotiation over the August 2015 Agreement for Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, ARCSS, This is the reentry to peace forum and participation in the democratic process.

In conclusion, this is seen as a genuine approach to inclusive peace and democracy. The parties to TGoNU should hold on the ARCSS, the IGAD’s Summit recommendations, specifically recommendation number 16 and National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee, inclusively.

Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey

The Nile Explorer

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