Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional eight-country trade block has confirmed a date for a face-to face meeting between South Sudan rival leaders, President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.
IGAD which has been instrumental in peace initiatives in Africa’s young nation has proposed August 21st for the two leaders to meet.
The venue of the meeting is African Union-headquarter City, Addis Ababa, Ethiopian.
The meeting which is urgent, after having been posponed from May to November, is necessitated by the fact that the two factions have lacked goodwill for consultations, thereby hindering the enactment of the peace pact.
“I would like to invite all parties to the agreement to attend the consultation meeting in the presence of the representatives of IGAD member states,” reads the statement by IGAD in part
IGAD brokered the South Sudan peace agreement in September 2018.
Peace monitors had expressed concern over the slow progress for the timely formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).
However, the country’s the government spokesperson, who is also the Minister for Information Makuei Lueth, said that President Kiir will not attend the meeting, stating that the meeting does not require Kiir’s attendance and that Juba will send three representatives on his behalf.
He also expressed confidence that the new government will be formed by November 12.
Activists have however argued that lack of trust among the leaders could derail the peace implementation process.
“The chance of the trust and confidence deficit among the principals of the parties to the peace agreement returning the country back to war for failure to comply with November 12, 2019 is higher,” said Edmund Yakani, a South Sudanese activist.
Kiir and Machar were supposed to form a transitional government on May 2 but later agreed to postpone it for six months because some of the conditions had not been met.