A new timetable has emerged for the long awaited resumption of the peace talks between warring parties in South Sudan under the mediation of the East African regional bloc, IGAD.
This has revealed that president Salva Kiir and his former deputy, now archrival, Riek Machar, are expected to sign a final peace agreement by 10 August.
The IGAD-Plus timetable plans a joint meeting from 20 July in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, by all members of the new IGAD-Plus mediation team which will include 5 representatives of the African Union (AU), troika countries (United States, United Kingdom and Norway), European Union (EU), China, and the United Nations (UN).
The aim of the meeting will be to study the IGAD-Plus draft peace agreement on South Sudan and improve on it or make some adjustments before presenting it to the warring parties.
According to the timetable, the South Sudanese parties to the peace talks will converge in Addis Ababa on 24 July and will be served with the new IGAD-Plus draft of the would-be peace agreement.
The parties, according to the timetable, will be given at least 10 days to study the draft and discuss it in consultation with their respective principals in Juba, government’s national capital, and Pagak, General Headquarters of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO).
The negotiating teams of the warring parties will then be called back to Addis Ababa on 5 August to negotiate on the draft peace agreement, and around 7 August they will be joined in Addis Ababa by their respective top leaders, Kiir and Machar.
This final negotiation process will give the two warring parties the chance to agree on any outstanding issue and improve on the language of the draft agreement as it may suit them.
However, if the two leaders will continue to not agree on any of the provisions in the draft agreement, then the provisions and language finally provided by IGAD-Plus will be the one to remain and be signed.
On 10 August, a summit is expected to be called by the IGAD-Plus to witness the signing of the final peace agreement in Addis Ababa by the parties.
The two principals in their recent interactions in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta, submitted their reviewed position papers to the IGAD rapporteur, which is also expected to guide the IGAD-Plus mediation in reviewing the draft peace agreement on 20 July.
Peace talks collapsed on 6 March when the two rival top leaders in their face-to-face meeting in Addis Ababa could not agree on almost every contentious issue in the draft peace agreement.
United Nations has warned of extensive sanctions against the belligerents should they refuse to sign a final peace agreement and form a “legitimate” transitional government, amid calls by the United States, declaring that president Kiir had already “squandered his legitimacy.”
Source: South Sudan Tribune