IGAD-led South Sudan Peace Talks: Opening Statement by Prime Minister Hailemariam

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Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni,

President of the Republic of Uganda

Excellency Omar Ahmad Hassan Al Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan

Excellency Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti

Excellency General Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan

Excellency Hassan Sheik Mahmoud, President of the Federal Government of Somalia

Excellency Uhuru M. Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to Addis Ababa. I would also like to express my appreciation to you all for taking sometime off your busy schedule to attend this summit on such short notice. Thank you indeed.

 

This is yet another summit we are convening to address the conflict in South Sudan and the progress so far has been frustrating if not gloomy indeed. Despite agreements after agreements to end hostilities and to set in motion a transitional process that will lay the groundwork for sustainable political solution to the conflict in south Sudan, these promises have been observed more by breach.

 

Most IGAD summits have served to both sides primarily as rather welcome intervals in which to prepare for a contest over military preeminence, not as genuine forums to seek political solutions to the conflict. Tactical cleverness not strategically reliable calculations have largely informed the decisions of either side all along. There appears to be little appetite for peace while the people of south Sudan continue bearing the full brunt of conflict. Apart from the tens of thousands so far killed, hundreds of thousands are rendered refugees while famine and starvation is staring millions more in the eye. The status quo is unsustainable indeed.

 

 

Excellencies

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

IGAD has been preoccupied with this issue for almost a year now in the hope that regional ownership of the mediation process will ensure maximum efficacy. This is a principled position taken with the firm belief that the early internationalization of the negotiation process would complicate matters. I am afraid it won’t be long before we reach the end of the line in this regard.

 

While in our Summit today we expect to make significant headway into breaking the impasse, it should be clear that it’s time the issue be given the full attention it deserves by the AU and UNSC in order for meaningfully strong actions to be taken. That the patience of the international community is wearing thin is not hopefully lost on both sides. There are already ominous signs that holding those responsible for the plight of the people of South Sudan is being seriously considered. While it is not the wish of our regional bloc that both sides go down that path, there is no telling if, in the absence of meaningful progress, such a course of action can be avoided at all.

 

Excellencies

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

We have our plates full and it is only imperative that we once again reflect the progress so far and take serious measures to break the impasse. Today we will have consultations amongst IGAD leaders to take stock of the sticking points that are standing in the way of progress. We will leave no stone unturned to get the two parties to come to their senses and honor their words. We will do every thing we can to impress up on both sides the futility of trying to fight this conflict out waiting for the dry season and encourage them to genuinely embrace peace. We will use all the influence we can to bring the two sides back to reason.

 

If past experience is any guide, this will not be easy but far from impossible to achieve. It’s my hope and expectation that we will manage to achieve a breakthrough that the parties will intend to seriously honor. In closing, I would like to thank our partners from the international community for their consistent support and express my hope that they will step up their efforts in order to help achieve lasting peace and stability in South Sudan.

 

I thank you

 

 


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