June 6, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —— Disappointed that both the conflict and famine are worsening as the number of refugees doubles and triples in their countries in less than a year since July 2016, the regional bloc(IGAD) is now softening its position on South Sudan’s conflict.
According to latest reports from IGAD’s office in Djibouti, the Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government, H.E. Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, has called for an Extra-Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Assembly to be held on 12th June 2017 in Addis Ababa.
The statement, extended to Nyamilepedia, explains that the Summit is expected to deliberate on the dire security and humanitarian situation facing South Sudan.
For the first time since July 2016, IGAD admits that security situation has deteriorated in South Sudan and it will only get worst during the rainy season.
“The deteriorating security situation has resulted in sharp increase of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, requiring IGAD Leaders to speak with one voice to abate the crisis.” Read parts of the IGAD document.
“It is sad to note that the situation is expected to become worse with the onset of the rainy season in the country. The neighboring countries of South Sudan and the international community are making every effort to ameliorate the catastrophic situation” the statement continued
With hopes to replace Machar and install Taban Deng Gai, who is collaborating with President Salva Kiir, IGAD ignored sharp influx of South Sudanese refugees into East Africa, however, the influx has so far become unsustainable for countries like Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan which have stopped registration of refugees.
Instead of convening a new political process as called for by the oppositions, IGAD seemingly hopes to use Salva Kiir’s unilateral National Dialogue as a platform for a new peace negotiation.
According to many politicians and analysts the current national dialogue framework is too rigid and one sided but IGAD believes that it could be soften and broaden to include other stakeholders.
“IGAD’s consultations with the African Union and the United Nations also highlight that the region has to lead the way for a concerted effort to bring forward the dialogue to solve the problem in South Sudan.” Reads part of the IGAD statement.
Despite that the August 2015 peace agreement is not being implemented, the regional bloc strongly believes that the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) is still the only viable solution to end the conflict in the world’s youngest war-torn country.
“They believe that the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) signed between the Government and the Opposition in 2015 charts the way forward to bring enduring peace, stability and a democratic order in the country.” IGAD said.
It is unclear if IGAD will allow all the signatories to the agreement to participate in implementation of the ARCISS to restore peace in South Sudan but so far the region has tried to bar Dr. Riek Machar, whose forces control most parts of Upper Nile and Equatorian regions, from entering the country or participating in peace implementation.
Taking advantage of dry season, government troops have carried out many offensives on SPLM/A-IO strongholds in attempt to push the rebels out of the country before the rainy season begins, however, IO has fought back to maintenance most of their strongholds.
With the coming of the rainy seasons, each of the two major warring factions prepares hard to switch strategy. While rebels may lead the offensives the government troops are fencing their barracks and digging their trenches in preparation for self defense.
According to observers and analysts, although some Juba politicians have started accusing IGAD, and Ethiopia in particular, a peace process that may bring rebels to table at this time should be in the interest of the government to buy time until it switches strategies next dry season.
South Sudan conflict, which started in 2013, has displaced more civilians and induced one of the worst famine within the last one year. Uganda,for example, has received almost 1 millions refugees since July 2016.