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IGAD ministers urge Juba to ‘expeditiously’ help deploy RPF

Officers of the UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan

The IGAD Council of Ministers is urging the Transitional Government of National Unity to facilitate the deployment of the Regional Protection Force to Juba.

This call came during a Consultative Meeting of IGAD Council of Ministers which was held on the 17 March at the African Union Headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The meeting was chaired by Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and attended by five other Foreign Ministers representing IGAD region, according to a statement.

The key items on the meeting’s agenda were: the dire humanitarian situation in the IGAD region due to drought emergencies and cases of famine as well as regional peace and security issues particularly developments in Somalia and South Sudan.

On South Sudan, the Council noted with serious concern the lack of progress in the implementation of the peace deal.

“The Council underlined the importance of expeditious deployment of the Regional Protection Force (RPF) and requested the TGoNU to complete the facilitation required for deployment,” partly read the statement.

“The Council also emphasized the need for strong international support to the deployment.”

In September last year, the UN Security Council approved the deployment of the 4,000-strong force, but it has been delayed due to some issues.

They also expressed concerns over the continued violence across South Sudan and noted with “serious concern” the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the country resulting from high levels of insecurity.

The Council further called upon the parties to the conflict in South Sudan to agree on the cessation of hostilities to pave way for a speedy implementation of the peace agreement.

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