June 24, 2014(Addis Ababa) — The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, the East African organization mediating South Sudan’s peace talks, is expected to submit a report to the UN Security Council, according to South Sudan’s former minister of justice.
John Luk Jok, the former minister, disclosed in an interview with Radio Tamazuj that the head of the IGAD mediation committee Seyoum Mesfin will travel to New York to submit a report to the UN Security Council on the progress of the negotiations.
He stressed that there is a high possibility that sanctions will be imposed on parties to the conflict, depending on the recommendation of the mediator.
On Monday the mediation team announced the indefinite adjournment of the peace talks noting, “The SPLM/A (In Opposition) failed to attend the… negotiations.”
“This is in contradiction to the 9 May 2014 Agreement as well as the 10 June 2014 Communiqué which provides for the inclusion and participation of other stakeholders in the negotiations,” read Monday’s announcement.
IGAD’s mention of the communiqué is significant because in it East African countries threatened to take “punitive measures” against any party that failed to honour the resolutions of the document.
In their announcement on Monday the mediators also explicitly stated that they would undertake consultations with the UN Security Council.
John Luk said that he expects diplomats to consider imposing travel bans, asset freezes, arms embargoes or other types of punitive sanctions.
The ex-minister is one of the former political prisoners who was held in detention in Juba from December to January for belonging to a dissident wing of South Sudan’s ruling party. He is now a member of the SPLM-G11, the Group of Eleven faction.
Speaking in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, John Luk noted that the mediation earlier this month gave a deadline of 60 days to the parties to finalize talks on the formation of a transitional government, or else face penalties for impeding the peace process.
According to the former justice minister, the imposition of sanctions will depend on the report to be submitted by the chief mediator Seyoum Mesfin to the UN Security Council.
Luk did not elaborate specifically on whom he thought would be targeted.
Last month the United States unilaterally imposed asset freezes against the commander of Salva Kiir’s presidential guard Marial Chanuong and the top rebel general Peter Gadet Yaak.
The American government stated that it would attempt to seize any of their assets that came under control of the US banking system, and it also described the designation of those two leaders as only a ‘first step.’
In late April and May, French and US diplomats at the UN Security Council were also reported to be considering a resolution to impose sanctions on South Sudanese leaders. The ambassador of France, one of the permanent members of the Council, was quoted as saying, “I think we are ready to go down the road of sanctions.”
Opposition delegation responds to mediators
SPLM/A-in-Opposition has criticized as “unnecessary” the decision by IGAD to adjourn the peace talks, saying instead the mediators should have responded to their concerns about the selection process of other stakeholders.
The opposition delegation boycotted the talks last Friday and Saturday over concerns that the non-governmental ‘stakeholders’ at the talks – clergy, civil society and other political parties – were not representative of the country overall.
After the suspension of the talks on Monday, the deputy spokesman of SPLM-IO Mabior Garang de Mabior accused the IGAD of ‘backtracking’ from the agreed agenda and framework for the talks.
He said the opposition “fears that the mediation undermined inclusivity by presenting government-sponsored institutions as credible South Sudanese civil society organisations.”
Hailemariam heads to AU summit
The IGAD chairman and Prime Minister of Ethiopia is reported to have traveled to Nigeria, ahead of the African Union summit in Equatorial Guinea.
According to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia, Hailemariam is accompanied by his foreign minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom on the trip which will take him also to Benin and from there to the 23rd AU Summit to be held from 26-27 June in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
– Radio Tamazuj.