From Agencies: NOV/08/2014, SSN;
Leaders of two warring parties in South Sudan have failed to reach a peace deal Saturday, November 8, 2014, in the IGAD mediated talks in Addis Ababa.
The extraordinary summit of five African Heads of State in Ethiopia has failed yet again to hammer out a power-sharing deal between South Sudan President Salva Mayrdit Kiir and his former deputy, Dr Riek Machar, despite earlier reports that a pact was signed under international pressure to end violence soon to enter its second year.
This is even after President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is Chairman of East African Community (EAC) and Ethiopia’s Hailemariam Desalegn, who chairs the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), steered two day intensive talks.
The talks, which kicked off on Thursday (November 6) reportedly stretched into the night on Friday and into the wee hours of yesterday (Saturday), with Presidents Kenyatta and Desalegn determined to resolve a power-sharing deal between Kiir and Machar.
The country’s state-run news agency said closed-door talks in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa had seen President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar engaged in two days of intense negotiations, but had boiled down to no agreement.
“In the meeting, Kiir and Machar engaged in a blistering discussion, with President Kiir asking Machar to drop his rebellion and join his government while Machar lectured Kiir on the goodness of federalism and other democratic alternatives that can be utilized to solve the current crisis,” the news agency reported.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional body that was supervising the talks, adjourned the meeting for two weeks, and asked both sides to cease hostility, the agency said.
Earlier reports said that Kiir and Machar had agreed to commit to an unconditional, complete and immediate end to all hostilities, after the UN Security Council and leaders of East African nations threatened to impose economic and travel sanctions on the leaders of the world’s youngest country.
The reports, citing a statement by IGAD, said that any violation of the deal would invite asset freezes and travel bans throughout the East African IGAD member states.
The IGAD members also reserved the right to directly intervene in the violence and to prevent weapons from transiting through their countries to South Sudan.
At some point the efforts of the Kenyan and Ethiopian leaders seemed to pay off, with Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed, even tweeting summarily on Friday night “there is a deal on South Sudan. Parties agree on immediate cessation and on all other issues except one.”
After the resolutions were released, she again tweeted: “The final communique contains sanctions against violators of the cessation of hostilities, asset freezes, travel bans and arms embargo.”
Before entering into a second straight night of talks to try to bridge the differences between the Kiir and Machar parties, the regional leaders led by Kenyatta and Desalegn affirmed they would not rest until a comprehensive peace deal was reached.
Manoah Esipisu, spokesperson for the Kenyan presidency, was equally optimistic: “My understanding is that the leaders are determined to make progress as they see this as a pivotal stage in the negotiations.”
“But it is, as expected, a difficult process,” he told the press in Addis Ababa.
It would have been the third deal to be reached, since two previous accords have failed to end violence as clashing fighting continued, especially around the country’s oil installations.
South Sudan descended into violence at the end of last year when fighting broke out between soldiers and rebels loyal to Machar and government loyalists backing Kiir.
Nonetheless, Presidents Kenyatta and Desalegn succeeded in getting the South Sudan’s political leaders to commit to an unconditional and complete end to hostilities.
IGAD, also accepted the request by both parties for a further 15 days to consult and iron out the remaining outstanding issues.
The Government of South Sudan led by President Kiir and the SPLM/A (in opposition) under former Vice President Machar also agreed to immediately stop recruitment and mobilisation of civilians.
In a communique issued at the end of the 28th Extra-ordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government, also attended by President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Omar Bashir (Sudan), Ismail Guelleh (Djibouti) and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Somalia), the leaders warned the warring parties that any violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement would invite stern interventions to protect life and restore peace and stability.
Freeze of assets:
The final communique contains sanctions against violators of the cessation of hostilities, asset freezes, travel bans and arms embargo. IGAD threatens Kiir, Machar with asset freeze over South Sudan conflict.
The Summit was also attended by Dr Dlamini Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mahboub Maalim, Executive Secretary of IGAD, and the IGAD Special Envoys for South Sudan, Seyoum Mesfin of Ethiopia, Gen Lazaro Sumbeiywo of Kenya and Gen Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa El Dabi of Sudan.
There were also representatives of the United Nations, the Peopleâs Republic of China, Denmark, Japan, the European Union, the Troika (the Governments of Norway, US and United Kingdom) and the IGAD Partners Forum (IPF).