March 28, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 494th meeting held on 24 March in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, was briefed on the situation in South Sudan and the status of the peace process.
- IGAD’s chief mediator for South Sudan peace talks, Seyoum Mesfin, speaks to the press following the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement between the South Sudanese government and rebels in Addis Ababa on 23 January 2014 (Photo: AFP)
Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, chair of the mediation team of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), briefed the council on the outstanding issues that led to the collapse of the talks between president Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar.
In a communique released following the briefing which was also attended by representatives of the warring parties, the AU expressed deep concern at the prevailing situation in the Africa’s youngest nation.
It said the ongoing violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement as fighting continued to escalate between the two warring parties was disheartening.
“Council expressed deep concern at the prevailing situation in South Sudan, characterized by fighting in recent weeks and a serious humanitarian situation,” it partly reads.
“Council, noting with utmost disappointment the failure of the South Sudanese parties to reach an agreement on the outstanding issues by the deadline of 5 March 2015, as set by IGAD, once again, appealed to the South Sudanese Parties to live-up to their commitments under the Agreement of Cessation of Hostilities and to display the required political will and sense of responsibility to bring to an end the untold suffering inflicted upon their people.”
It said the African body reminded the warring parties of the threat of sanctions against those seen to be obstructing the peace process, noting the United Nations Security Council’s resolution 2206 (2015) to this effect.
The statement however said the AU’s peace and security council looked forward to the next steps envisaged by IGAD for the resumption of the negotiations.
IGAD said it was working on a new mechanism that would expand the mediation body.
An ad hoc committee to be composed of the heads of state and government of Algeria, Chad, Rwanda and South Africa will be formed to support IGAD, adding the committee may meet soon and elaborate its terms and reference.