President Salva Kiir. (Net photo)
New Vision has seen a copy of a memo issued by the Inter-Governmental Development Authority (IGAD) secretariat summoning member countries to be represented in Juba as Kiir signs the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan.
?The IGAD secretariat presents its compliments to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of its member states and has the honor to inform the latter that as per the information received today from the office of H.E the President of the Republic of Kenya, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the agreement on resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, will be signed tomorrow, 26the August, 2015, in Juba, South Sudan,? noted the IGAD memo issued on August 25.
?The secretariat of IGAD wishes to take this opportunity to request all IGAD Plus members to send their respective delegations to Juba to witness and attend this long awaited historic moment,? the statement added.
Mid this month, IGAD Plus member states held a meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where all warring forces in South Sudan were expected to sign a final peace deal but Salva Kiir declined to sign, revealing that he needed more time to study the agreement.
However, Kiir?s political nemesis and former vice president of South Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar signed the deal in Ethiopia.
IGAD had set the deadline for the peace deal on August 17.
Okello Oryem, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs welcomed the development, especially the fact that Kiir will be penning the peace deal in Juba but could not give details, arguing that he will comment after getting a final brief about the development.
However what is clear is the fact that during the August 17 IGAD meeting in Ethiopia, regional leaders including President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), President Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), President Omar Al-Bashir (Sudan) and their host, Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ethiopian Prime Minister held talks over the South Sudan question.
This meeting of regional leaders came after a series of talks and negotiations between Kiir and Riek, which were mediated by the chief mediator, Seyoum Mesfin.
This round of talks opened on August 6, mediated by the regional eight-nation bloc IGAD as well as the United Nations, African Union, China and the ?troika? of Britain, Norway and the United States.
Diplomats have warned any failure to sign a peace deal could trigger ?serious consequences? for the rival leaders, including a wide range of tight sanctions.
The conflict, which began in December 2013, has been marked by widespread atrocities on both sides.
The conflict stated after Kiir accused Riek of planning a coup, a move that led to a mutiny in the army and the rank and file of the ruling SPLA\M.
Since then, the country has been split along ethnic lines, which has given birth to unstoppable massacres, rape, castration and burning alive of children and women.
According to the recent United Nations report on the conflict, more than 70 percent of the country?s 12 million people need assistance, while 2.2 million people have fled their homes.
By David Lumu, The New Vision