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IGAD says positioning of observers in affected areas is underway

Author : | Published: Friday, January 31, 2014

The mediation team from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, IGAD, says a team of observers will be deployed to areas affected by conflict in South Sudan tomorrow to monitor the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

IGAD heads of state met on the sidelines of the Summit of the heads of state of the African Union in Addis Ababa to review progress after the signing of the two agreements a week ago.

The meeting was attended by the Vice President of South Sudan, James Wani Igga, Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, and other heads of state of IGAD countries.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, IGAD Special Envoy General Mohamed El-Dabi confirmed that some observers left Ethiopia today for South Sudan.

“We demanded that let there be full commitment from both sides with regard to what they have signed, the cessation of hostilities and we also demanded that let both sides work to facilitate humanitarian assistance in various areas that they operate in and to implement in letter and spirit the agreements they signed and to make sure that the troops they invited and deployed in those areas for operations from both sides and that the troops be re-deployed or taken back to where they were brought from.  We also urged both sides to the agreement or the tripartite committee to urgently draw up a clear and comprehensive plan for the next stage, which the negotiations on political issues,” he said.

General El-Dabi also said mutual accusations of violation of the agreements do not mean that the ceasefire does not hold.

“Any complaint or violation as of now is considered as minimal and does not impact negatively on the agreements. We are monitoring the agreements. An agreement is violated when there is a planned and coordinated major operation from the side of the soldiers, but thank God what has happened so far does not reach what could be described as major violations of the agreements. But also we don’t want what has happened and we don’t encourage them to do so. But all these will be overcome when the observers arrive in these locations,” he added.

Last week, the two delegations from the government and the SPLM-SPLA in opposition led by the former Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, signed two agreements on the cessation of hostilities and the question of the release of the political detainees.

Seven of the eleven detainees have been released, while four others are still being held in Juba, where they have been charged with treason.

The two parties will attend the second round of peace talks from 7 February in Addis Ababa.

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