UN: UN, AU, IGAD urge cessation of hostilities in South Sudan

New York, US (PANA) - The UN, the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Sunday reiterated their call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in South Sudan.

They also urged the parties to ensure an inclusive political process, both in the proposed National Dialogue and in the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement.

The call was made at a joint consultative meeting on South Sudan held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on the margins of the 28th African Union Summit.

According to a joint press statement issued after the meeting, the participants expressed their deep concerns over the continuing spread of fighting, and risk of inter-communal violence escalating into mass atrocities.

They also expressed concern on the dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan.

They reaffirmed their continued and collective commitment in the search for lasting peace, security and stability in the country.

The UN, AU and IGAD also stressed the need for a political solution to the conflict, within the framework of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).

They commended the important work performed by the Chairperson of the Joint Ministering and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), responsible for monitoring and overseeing the implementation of the Agreement.

They also encouraged the AU High Representative for South Sudan to undertake active shuttle diplomacy towards ensuring the inclusivity of the National Dialogue and the implementation of the peace accord, in close consultation with the JMEC Chairperson, the UN and IGAD.

The AU, IGAD and the UN reaffirmed their commitment and determination to further enhance their cooperation in support of the South Sudan peace process, the statement added.

The meeting, chaired by Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chairperson of IGAD, was also attended by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Other participants were AU High Representative for South Sudan, former President Alpha Oumar Konare, and the Chairperson of the JMEC, former President Festus Mogae, who briefed the meeting.

Also in attendance, were the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, the Executive Secretary of IGAD, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, and other senior officials of the three organizations.

South Sudan has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his then former Vice-President Riek Machar erupted into full blown conflict in December 2013.

The crisis has produced one of the world's worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.

Despite the August 2015 peace agreement that formally ended the war, conflict and instability have also spread to previously unaffected areas in the Greater Equatoria and Greater Bahr-El-Ghazal regions of South Sudan.
-0- PANA AA/MA 29Jan2017

29 january 2017 21:36:30

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