In the early hours of this morning, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan, and Dr. Riek Machar, former Vice President of South Sudan and Leader of the SPLM/A (In Opposition) signed the ‘Areas of Agreement on the Establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) in the Republic of South Sudan’ document.
This document confirms agreed areas between Parties, including the mandate of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), the establishment of transitional justice institutions and oversight monitoring mechanisms, and commits the Parties to agree a final and comprehensive peace agreement no later than March 5, 2015. The Parties also rededicated themselves to the Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) Agreement of January 23, 2014, and agreed that any future violations of the CoH Agreement would be referred to the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council.
The signing ceremony was attended by H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chairperson of IGAD, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya and IGAD Rapporteur, Ambassador (Eng.) Mahboub M. Maalim, the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, partners of IGAD and other dignitaries.
During the occasion, the IGAD Chairperson, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn urged the two principals to respect what they have signed.
“I am confident that the two leaders will respect what they have signed today. In the coming meetings in February, we will see a comprehensive peace agreement signed. This is what the people of South Sudan are expecting and the people of the region and the international community are expecting from the leaders“. Prime Minister Dessalegn reiterated “ Failure to do so will have grave consequences to all of us and specifically to the leaders of South Sudan.”
For his part, President Uhuru Kenyatta, expressed optimism over the positive prospect this development holds for South Sudan.
“All of us are truly hopeful that we will be here in just about a month’s time to witness a comprehensive peace agreement concluded, . . . [we] would see a transitional government in place to prepare South Sudan for elections and ultimately for the will of the people to prevail.”
Chairman of the IGAD Special Envoys for South Sudan, Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin added that final round of peace talks will resume on 20 February 2015 with the aim of finalizing a comprehensive peace agreement no later than 5 March 2015.