Feb 23, 2015 (Nyamilepedia)—-Another round of peace talks between South Sudan’s warring parties are about to start in the capital of Ethiopia. IGAD mediators and negotiators have said these are the “last and final” negotiations.
War leaders Salva Kiir and Riek Machar signed a document on 1 February committing to this round of talks, describing them as the “final negotiations” and committing to conduct the negotiations themselves personally.
If the talks fail again, it is unclear whether IGAD will commit to mediate another round.
Yesterday in Addis Ababa representatives of the two warring factions as well as other stakeholders held consultations in the Ethiopian capital without the presence of mediators in preparation for the start of the talks, according to SPLM-IO official Dhieu Mathok.
Dhieu, head of the rebel group’s External Relations Committee, told Nyamilepedia that these consultations aimed at setting an agenda for the talks, noting the negotiations will proceed via three negotiating committees: governance, economy and security.
Meanwhile, the government delegation spokesman Michael Makuei said that this may be the last round of peace talks, stressing the government’s commitment to what has been agreed with the opposition and find a lasting solution to South Sudan’s crisis.
For its part, the European Union, which funds the talks mediated by the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), called for the two sides not to “miss another opportunity.”
The EU statement noted that both Riek Machar and Salva Kiir “committed to be present for the duration of the negotiations.”
“We expect them to do so,” reads the statement.
“The EU calls on President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Dr Riek Machar not to miss another opportunity to deliver on their commitments. The recent decision of the Government of South Sudan to modify the constitution to extend the mandate of the President and the National Legislature must not be used as a reason to delay reaching a peace agreement beyond 5 March,” adds the statement.
The same statement refers to the “complete disregard by the parties for respect of fundamental human rights,” calling on the African Union to publicly report on human rights abuses.