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summary of IGAD summit on South Sudan

 

IGAD SUMMIT CONCLUDES WITH AGREEMENT STILL ELUSIVE

 

21 June 2018

 

The Summit meeting of IGAD Heads of State was concluded today within a few hours agreeing to continue the peace process in follow up meetings in Khartoum and Nairobi.

 

Prior to the Summit, foreign ministers met to hear the report of IGAD Special Envoy Ismael Wais. He explained the steps taken over the past month to narrow the differences between the parties – the Government (TGONU), the SPLM-IO and the opposition South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA). The Council of Ministers, which had been expected to endorse the ‘Bridging Proposal’ drafted by IGAD surprised many with Sudan suggesting that rather than endorse a proposal and demand that the parties ‘take it or leave it,’ that the Summit be apprised of the situation and decide on how to proceed. While Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia backed Ethiopia in supporting the full endorsement of the IGAD proposal Sudan, a doubtful Uganda, and lukewarm Kenya were inclined go let the IGAD Summit decide on it without the full endorsement of the Council of Ministers.

Once the Summit got off the ground, and the opening session (reported earlier) was concluded, IGAD leaders took turns addressing themselves to President Kiir and urging him to accept that Riek Machar play a key role in the transitional process to follow. Kiir did not appear to have been swayed into accepting Machar into a Government led by him, though it was reported that the Government side had made considerable (unpublicized) concessions on power sharing. One head of state after the other addressed their comments directly to Kiir, pressing him to give ground. President Bashir (Sudan) argued for the quick resumption of full-scale oil production in South Sudan, while President Kenyatta drew attention to how the Kenyan political impasse had been dealt with through a ‘handshake’ between Kenyatta and Odinga. In the absence of a significant move from President Kiir who reported on the precarious situation in the country, the Ethiopian PM proposed that further steps be taken to pressure the parties to come of an agreement and suggested that further meetings be convened by the Governments of Sudan and Kenya as it was time for others to try their hand.

It was agreed that Sudan convene the next meeting of the parties in two weeks followed by Kenya. There would be no need to report to Ethiopia on any progress achieved. Invitations for the next meeting would be sent out from the Sudanese Government in Khartoum. Sudan would report its findings to Kenya and Kenya would report on its findings to the next temporary chair to be elected well before that time.

The Special Envoy of IGAD – Ismail Wais was tasked with providing all necessary support to the efforts of Kenya and Uganda from now on.

The new development was the IGAD’s decision announcing Machar right to visit – but not settle in- countries neighboring South Sudan. Aside from that restriction he was free to travel to any country around the world.

A communique is due to be released tomorrow and will be circulated. (End)

 

 Key takeaways:

 

  • Machar’s placed in new TGONU unconfirmed, But he is now – more or less a free man

  • Power-sharing arrangements continue to defy solution

  • Ethiopia hands over the peace process to others. The new PM made it clear that Ethiopia would relinquish its chairmanship of IGAD. ‘This is the first and last IGAD Summit that I chair’, he declared.

 

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