S. Sudan Peace Talks Postponed Following Machar Boycott

President Salva Kiir (L) and rebel leader Riek Machar
President Salva Kiir (L) and rebel leader Riek Machar

Negotiations for peace in South Sudan have been adjourned after the SPLM/A-in-Opposition continued to boycott a new round of talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The SPLA-in-Opposition led by Dr Riek Machar protested the manner in which the non-government participants were selected for talks.  The non-government participants include former detainees, political parties, civil society and faith-based organizations. According to the rebel group, representatives should also have been invited from the opposition-held areas as well as those living in exile.

IGAD wanted for the first time to bring SPLM Leaders (Former Detainees), other political parties, civil society and faith based organizations to the negotiation table, alongside the SPLM/A-Juba and SPLM/A-in-Opposition. But, the SPLM/A-in-Opposition failed to attend the multi-stakeholder roundtable negotiations.

“This in contradiction to the agreements providing for the inclusion and participation of other stakeholders in the negotiations for a new political dispensation in South Sudan; including arrangements for a transitional government of national unity,” the mediation team said.

Based on the developments, the IGAD mediation said in a press statement last evening that that the talks are adjourned. It added that during the recess period, IGAD will consult with the African Union and United Nations Security Council on the best way to proceed with efforts to pacify Africa’s youngest nation.

“The stakeholders are also urged to prepare for the next phase of negotiations and engage substantively in order to meet the deadline endorsed by the IGAD Heads of State and Government to complete dialogue on the formation of a transitional government of national unity within sixty days,” IGAD stated in its press release.

Earlier this month, IGAD threatened sanctions should either of the two sides stall the peace process. The two leaders have already committed to complete talks on the formation of an interim government within 60 days.

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