Dec 12, 2017(Nyamilepedia) — The eight-country East African regional trade bloc, tasked to mediate South Sudan conflict, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development(IGAD) has circumvented inviting South Sudan’s main armed opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, chairman and commander-in-chief of the SPLM/A in Opposition.
According to an invitation letter, extended to Nyamilepedia Press, the IGAD council agreed during its recent meeting in Abijan, Cote D’ivore, on Novermeber 28th that the Opposition leader, Machar, may not attend, at least the first sessions of the Revitalization Forum, unless if he delegates three members from his party.
A carefully crafted invitation letter, authored by the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, calls on Dr. Machar to select three officials and forward them their names and contact for IGAD to reach them directly.
“Your Excellency, all participants to the HLRF will be representing their respective parties. Hence, I wish to kindly request you to delegate three(3) duly authorized representatives of the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army-in Opposition(SPLM/A-IO) who will participate in the Forum.” Said the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe
Desalegn also calls on Machar to make sure that one of the three appointees is a woman, which critics believe was an attempt to suggest that Machar’s wife, Hon. Angelina Teny, should perhaps attend instead.
“In this regard, I will recommend that at least one of the delegates could be a woman” Desalegn continued.
The Prime Minister informed Dr. Machar that the agenda, guidelines, venue, rules and procedures of the High Level Revitalization Forum shall be agreed upon and communicated after the IGAD Council of Ministers holds its 59th “Extraordinary Session” on December 15-16 .
“The detailed agenda, guidelines, rules of procedures and expected outcomes of the HLRF will be communicated in due course following adoption by the 59th Extra-Ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers scheduled for 15-16 December 2017” Reads part of Desalegn invitation letter.
The HLRF is scheduled for December 18-22nd and it is expected to be convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The invitation letter does not mention anything on Dr. Machar’s controversial house arrest in South Africa or future arrangements, and whether or not he will participate in the forum at a later date.
In Juba, President Salva Kiir is protesting and warning that he may snap the HLRF altogether if his leadership is not invited to attend the IGAD Council of Ministers that is going to decide on the agenda, guidelines, rule and procedures to be followed during the High Level Revitalization Forum.
“I humbly appeal for an urgent and expeditious reply to my letter on the critical issues of the HLRF and the participation of the TGoNU in the IGAD Council of Ministers. You will recall that time and time again the then Government of South Sudan had expressed its concerns over the way with which the IGAD Mediators allowed themselves to be manipulated by the opposition, the consequences of which are now challenging the implementation of the ARCISS. It is our honest determination that the HLRF must not suffer the same predicament” Said President Salva Kiir in his letter.
At the time of this writing, Dr. Riek Machar was yet to response to IGAD’s invitation letter and whether the SPLM/A-IO will attend the forum or not remiains to be seen.
The armed Opposition has declined to send delegations to SPLM reunification forums under the auspice of the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni.
So far none of those agreements signed in Kampala and Cairo, Egypt, has been implemented.
The peace agreement has failed largely due to absence of Dr. Machar, whose forces control almost half of the country, and it is yet to be seen if the forum will bear any success without participation of the SPLM/A in Opposition in the persons of Dr. Riek Machar.