COMMUNIQUE OF THE 67TH SESSION OF IGAD COUNCIL OF MINISTERS ON THE SITUATION IN SOUTH SUDAN
The IGAD Council of Ministers held its 67th Extra-Ordinary Session on 7th May 2019 in Juba, South Sudan, under the chairmanship of H.E. Gedu Andargachew, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to deliberate on the status of the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) and the way forward.
The meeting was attended by H.E. Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda; Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan; H.E. Hirut Zemene, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; H.E. Abdulkadir Ahmedkheyr Abdi, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia; Hon. Ababu Namwamba, Chief Administrative Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya; H.E. Mohamed Ali Hassan, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Djibouti; and H.E. Isam Idris Ibrahim, Minister Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Republic of Sudan.
The meeting was also attended by H.E. Dr. Ismail Wais, IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan; H.E. Amb. Lt. Gen. Augostino S.K Njoroge, the Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC); Hon. Siraj Fegessa, IGAD's Director of Peace and Security representing the Executive Secretary of IGAD and Hon. Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro, Secretary to the National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC).
The representatives of the AU, UNMISS, EU, the Co-Chairperson of the IGAD Partners Forum (IGAD-IPF), the representatives of the Troika on South Sudan (US, UK, Norway), and representatives of China were also present at the opening session and made statements.
After listening to the reports of the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, the Interim Chairperson of RJMEC and the Secretary of the NPTC, and following extensive deliberations;
1. Thanked the People and Government of the Republic of South Sudan for their warm hospitality and for hosting the meeting;
2. Takes note of the reports of the Special Envoy for South Sudan, the Interim Chairperson of RJMEC and the Secretary of the NPTC, including their observations that overall, the implementation of the Pre-Transitional Tasks fell short of expectations and recommendations therein;
3. Appreciates the IGAD Special Envoy, the Interim Chairperson of RJMEC and the Secretary of the NPTC for their very comprehensive reports, commends their efforts in this regard, and encourages them to continue doing their best;
4. Commends the Parties to the R-ARCSS for the progress made so far, in the implementation of the Peace Agreement, including their adherence to the permanent ceasefire, establishment/reconstitution of key institutions and mechanisms of the Agreement, and the ongoing confidence building;
5. CongratulatesE. Gedu Andargachew on his appointment as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and therefore Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers and wishes him success in his tenure;
6. Pays tribute to H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for his dedicated service to the country and region, and further congratulates him upon his appointment as Head of UN Office in Nairobi;
7. Welcomes the outcome of the meeting of the Parties to the R-ARCSS held in Addis Ababa on May 2ndand 3rd 2019 and commends the Parties for the spirit of trust and compromises exhibited at the meeting, which enabled the realization of consensus;
8. Endorses the requests of the Parties to the R-ARCSS to extend the Pre-Transitional Period for six (6) months effective 12 May 2019, and directs that all steps necessary be taken to expedite the implementation of the pending tasks, within this extended non-renewable timeline;
9. Adopts the Resolution of the meeting of the Parties to the R-ARCSS dated 3rd May 2019 and calls uponall responsible bodies to implement all the recommendations therein, in accordance with their competencies;
10. Commits to recommend to the IGAD Heads of State and Government the request to convene regular face-to-face meetings of the top leadership of the Parties to the R-ARCSS to review the status of the implementation of the Agreement;
11. Calls upon all non-signatory groups to urgently reconsider their positions, renounce rebellion and choose the path of peace by immediately joining the implementation of the R-ARCSS 2018;
12. Authorizes the Special Envoy to conduct one final round of engagement with the non-signatory groups, in particular, General Thomas Cirillo Swaka of NAS and General Paul Malong Awan, to persuade the non-signatories to join in the implementation of the R-ARCSS 2018 or face consequences;
13. Emphasizes that the signatories to the R-ARCSS are the first and foremost guarantors to the implementation of the R-ARCSS and encourages the Parties to the R-ARCSS and Stakeholders to work with renewed urgency and commitment in ensuring that the pending tasks are completed in a timely manner, within the six (6) months period;
14. Further endorses the report by the Special Envoy with particular reference to the need for expediting the procedure for the amendment of the TCRSS 2011 and other relevant laws during the Pre-Transitional Period and his guidance to this effect;
15. Notes with appreciation the commitment shown by the Incumbent TGoNU to take necessary steps to expedite the implementation of all pending tasks to ensure a timely formation of the RTGoNU within the extended period, and urges all Parties with armed forces to immediately prepare their forces to report to cantonment sites, as soon as they are operationalized;
16. Recalling the decision of the 33rd Extra-Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Heads of State and Government Assembly that Dr. Riek Machar, Chairman of the SPLM/A-IO is free to travel and reside in any country of his choice within the IGAD Member States until the final determination of his status, and taking into account the fact that Dr. Machar has participated in the peace process in a positive manner, hereby recommends to the Summit to lift any restrictions on Dr. Riek Machar or instruct the Council accordingly;
17. Recognizes the support already extended by the International Partners and Friends of South Sudan to the implementation of the R-ARCSS and appeals for more support to enable the full and timely implementation of the Peace Agreement;
18. Resolves that IGAD Member States shall urgently consider and extend available technical and other support required by the security related institutions and mechanisms of the Agreement, and welcomesthe willingness expressed by Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to take steps to enhance the capacity of the various mechanisms to expedite the implementation of their tasks;
19. Urges the Parties to immediately reconstitute the DDR Commission without any further delay and to operationalize the cantonment/barracking of all forces and expedite the training, unification and deployment of necessary forces;
20. Demands that all Parties to the R-ARCSS guarantee CTSAMVM free movement and unfettered access in its monitoring and verification mandate, and that action be taken against any persons or institutions impeding CTSAMVM work;
21. Instructs the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan and the Chairperson of RJMEC to convene the workshop for the security related institutions and mechanisms of the Agreement within two (2) weeks to determine clear implementation schedules for the pending tasks of the Pre-Transitional period;
22. Commends the Incumbent TGoNU for the financial support already extended to the implementation of the Peace Agreement, appeals for a timely disbursement of all pledged one hundred million dollars to the NPTC accounts, and recommends the establishment of an effective and accountable mechanism for its management;
23. Underlines the responsibility of the Government to secure and avail the necessary resources for the full implementation of the R-ARCSS, and calls upon the regional and international partners to enhance their support to the Government;
24. Reiterates its call to all Parties to adhere to the Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements, ensure the protection of civilians-especially women, youths and children, refrains from acts of sexual and gender-based violence, guarantee unimpeded humanitarian access and implement all its provisions. In this regard, it demands that mechanisms be put in place to facilitate the voluntary and safe return of refugees and IDPs;
25. Agrees to regularly convene meetings of the Parties to the R-ARCSS to jointly review progress of the implementation of the pending tasks every two (2) months, conduct regular Council visits and missions to Juba, to expedite the appointment of a substantive RJMEC Chairperson as well as to convene an Ordinary Session and Summit soonest;
26. On the Republic of Sudan, the Council reaffirms the continued and collective commitment of IGAD Member States in the search of lasting peace, security and stability of the region. In this regard, the Council notes that it is keenly following the situation in the Republic of Sudan and would continue to engage in a coordinated manner, within the African Union framework; and
27. Decides to remain actively seized of these matters.
Source: Inter Governmental Authority on Development