South Sudan warned against wasting talks


South Sudan should not waste the opportunity of forthcoming peace talks even though an agreement to end conflict was violated by warring parties, an international mediator said.

Despite several agreements and ceasefires fighting rumbles on in South Sudan with barely a break since civil war erupted at the end of 2013, just two years after independence.

Troops loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with forces loyal to Riek Machar, then the vice president. Tens of thousands of people were killed and much of the nation faces dire food shortages.

Government and rebel groups signed the latest ceasefire in December in the Ethiopian capital, aiming to revive a pact reached in 2015. The truce was violated within hours.

The parties will hold a forum in Addis Ababa from May 17-21 to jumpstart the peace process. The forum is organised by the regional East Africa group IGAD.
“This country has missed so many opportunities to make durable peace and we should not allow the High level Revitalisation Forum to be squandered,” Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana said.

Mogae chairs the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, set up to monitor the failed 2015 truce and peace deal implementation. South Sudan launched its own national dialogue, while fighting continued across the country.

He accused the parties of human rights violations and urged IGAD to take action.
“The parties continue to wage a campaign of defiance and commit human rights abuses with impunity. This is unacceptable and I call on IGAD to make good its promise to hold spoilers accountable,” he said.