Addis Ababa, August 6, 2015 (SSNA) — Peace talks between South Sudan’s warring factions have resumed on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Negotiations restarted as the United States renews an ultimatum to South Sudanese warring sides.
The fresh negotiations under the IGAD-Plus are expected to be the final chance for South Sudan’s rivals to strike a peace deal by August 17.
“We have now reached a critical juncture whereby participants of this phase will make decisions that may impact the destiny of the people of South Sudan. You have had enough time to consult, since the proposals are the very same issues that you have been discussing for the last 19 months,” Chief Mediator Seyoum Mesfin told the gathering at an opening ceremony.
The consultations are currently being mediated by Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, Chad, Rwanda, China, and troika member states (Norway, United Kingdom, and the United States of America).
Mediators have disclosed that rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar and Salva Kiir will soon join the talks. Negotiators, however, didn’t say when the two rivals will come face to face in a negotiations room.
US issues a new ultimatum over talks
On August 4, US president Barrack Obama conducted a closed-door meeting with the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in the White House’s Oval office. After the meeting, the US leader issued a strongly worded statement to South Sudan’s rivals.
"If they [Kiir and Machar] miss that target [August 17] then I think it is going to be necessary for us to move forward with a different plan, and recognize that those leaders are incapable of creating the peace that is required," Obama told reporters after meeting with Ban Ki-Moon.
This week, an unnamed senior US government official told the AFP News Agency that Salva Kiir and Riek Machar “effectively face an ultimatum” and described the new round of talks as the “final best offer” for the two leaders.
Meanwhile, Norway’s Diplomat, Jens-Peter Kjemprud, warned Kiir and Machar that if they fail to reach a deal by August 17, then the community of nations will take further measures to end the war.
The new IGAD-Plus’s talks are aimed to end the raging civil war after IGAD-mediated peace talks collapsed in early March.
Fighting erupted in December 2013 between different units of presidential guards after months of political scuffle between senior leaders of the Sudan people’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
More than two million South Sudanese fled their homes, hundreds of thousands fled to the neighboring countries, and tens of thousands of people have been killed, according to the most recent UN’s estimate.