August 15, 2015(Nyamilepedia) – IGAD peace process to bring peace to South Sudan was plunged into chaos and disarray after President Salva Kiir refused to show up for talks as scheduled by the IGAD-PLUS mediators, the president missed to turn up on Thursday and again on Friday for final negotiations with the rebel chief Riek Machar, despite the government’s knowledge of the IGAD-PLUS program and a 17th August deadline set by the international mediation for parties to reach a peace agreement.
Salva Kiir’s office release a statement from J1 (Presidential Residence) saying the leader would not be going to Addis Ababa anymore for signing of the IGAD compromise peace agreement, the statement also said the government was withdrawing it’s delegation at the IGAD peace talks despite deadline from regional and international community for both sides to reach a peace agreement by 17th August deadline.
South Sudan Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia who is now being blamed for starting the chaos on the government camp, said on SSTV, the state owned television channel in the capital Juba that President Salva Kiir would not be going to Ethiopia for peace talks, saying a meeting of council of ministers and also governors from across South Sudan came to a conclusion that Slava Kiir should not travel to Ethiopia to sign the peace agreement.
Martin Elia also stated on the National Television that the government delegation was being pulled out of the peace process as they did not know who to negotiate with as some Generals had left the opposition movement, calling on IGAD to clarify on the issues of defection within the SPLM-IO,
The cabinet minister added that the government also did not have any update as to where the negotiations have reached and needed to be update by it’s negotiators.
However spokesperson of the government delegation in Ethiopia Michael Makuei contradicted Martin Elia’s statement, Makued told media in Addis Ababa on Friday evening and Saturday morning that the government’s delegation was to continue with the peace negotiation and that the government delegation has not withdrawn from the peace process, adding that Kiir would come to sign the agreement later.
Makuei blames “scrupulous media” of spreading rumours that government had withdrawn from the peace process in order to lay the blame of failure squarely on the government, he described such claims as unethical and unprofessional by those scrupulous media.
“But some scrupulous media houses decided to turn it the other way round and said that the government’s delegation has been recalled, which is very unfortunate. This is unethical and this is very unprofessional.”
Makuei said Salva Kiir was expected in Ethiopia on Saturday to participate in the peace process and IGAD consultation meeting of leaders to try and reach a compromise on outstanding issues.
Meanwhile the SPLM-In-Opposition found itself on Friday morning looking at a different proposal document from what was initially endorsed and currently being negotiated
The groups leader Riek Machar accused the IGAD mediation of trying to derail the process by introducing new documents and proposal that are not part of the July 24th IGAD-PLUS Compromise Proposal.
The new document which is believed to have been drafted by President Museveni in Uganda in presence of other IGAD leaders omits most of the key points in the IGAD-PLUS Compromise documents, however the opposition leader has rejected the introduction of any new documents which is not part of the original document, saying it would compromise the peace process current negotiations and lead to more fighting instead of peace.
IGAD has again this morning Saturday released a new statement saying they IGAD-PLUS peace process in on course and urge all parties to continue negotiations in good faith.
The mediation body known as IGAD-PLUS said it expect the principals of the main parties to meet as originally scheduled in the IGAD-PLUS Compromise proposal timetable and will make sure the parties meet the 17th August deadline.
The mediators say the government of South Sudan has not officially informed them about the government withdrawal from the talks and has also not given any official explanation about President Kiir’s absence from the talks.
According to informed sources in Ethiopia, Leaders from four IGAD countries bordering South Sudan are scheduled to meet today to try and bridge the gap between the two main parties by meeting with the two main principles to try and push them to reach a final compromise that would lead to signing of a final peace agreement, it’s not yet clear how that would be achieved in the absence of President Salva Kiir from the peace talks venue.