The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers decided on Thursday that at least half of the 83,000 Necessary Unified Forces should be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed before the end of September 2019.
“The Council resolves that at least 50 percent of the 83,000 necessary unified forces should be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed before the end of September 2019,” said a communique issued on Thursday.
The IGAD Council of Ministers, which brings together foreign ministers of the eight IGAD member countries, made the decision during its consultation meeting of the parties to South Sudan’s September 2018 peace deal on Wednesday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
The council further recommended the IGAD Heads of State and Government to convene “face-to-face meeting of the top leadership of the Parties to discuss and resolve outstanding issues,” as well as to hold an Ordinary Summit of IGAD in mid-September 2019 to deliberate on and decide, among others, the status of Riek Machar.
Noting the conducive environment the South Sudanese government has created for the implementation of the R-ARCSS, the Council also “recognized and commended representatives of the opposition parties for moving back and working from Juba.”
The IGAD foreign ministers also expressed their commitment “to engage their respective Heads of State and Government to directly engage South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir to disburse the balance of the pledged 100 million U.S. dollars.”
The latest consultation meeting, which brought together disputing South Sudanese parties as well as the IGAD Council of Ministers, also brought together representatives of African Union (AU), the UN, the European Union, IGAD Partners Forum (IPF), China, as well as the three Troika nations – Norway, UK and the United States.
The IGAD Council of Ministers issued the 14-point communique after hearing the presentation by the IGAD Executive Secretary on the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) report, the statement of the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, reports of the Secretary of the NPTC, Interim Chairperson of R-JMEC; and Chairperson of CTSAMVM, it was noted. Enditem