Today, we begin the final session of negotiations for the IGAD-mediated South Sudan peace talks. This is the final opportunity to make progress, and usher in a new era of peace in South Sudan. We must not fail.
After months of negotiations, you are all well aware of what must be achieved now. Genuine compromise and dialogue must take place. The agreed March 5 deadline to conclude negotiations must be respected, so that the Pre-Transitional Period can begin on April 1, and the Transitional Government of National Unity formed no later than July 9 of this year.
We, the IGAD Special Envoys, call on the warring Parties to ensure that the meeting of the two Principals, as agreed on February 1, occurs without further delay. This is the commitment that was made by the two Principals on February 1, and it is the expectation of the people of South Sudan, the IGAD region, Africa and the international community at large that this commitment will be fully honoured.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I must repeat my distress, and that of my colleagues the Special Envoys, that violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement have continued after the February 1 Agreement. MVM verified reports on breaches of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement will be forwarded to the chairperson of IGAD, and to the African Union and the United Nations, as per the terms of the February 1 Agreement. The whole world is watching the conflict in South Sudan, and we call on IGAD, the AU, the UN and all international partners to join us in calling for an end to the conflict, now. Let me also take this opportunity to thank our partners and the friends of South Sudan for their unrelenting support for the efforts of IGAD and the mediation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thematic committees on transitional security arrangements; economy, justice and humanitarian affairs; and the leadership and governance committee will resume work tomorrow. These committees must be serious and make real progress. Much work has been done to close the gap between the positions of the negotiating parties. We hope the committees will be able to complete their tasks and finalize the harmonization of all of the thematic areas. We stand ready to help you in whatever way we can.
I have said many times that the people of South Sudan deserve peace, and that enough suffering has taken place. History will harshly judge all of us if we fail now to assume our respective responsibilities as leaders. March 5 is less than two weeks away, so we must work swiftly and effectively. Let us not disappoint the people of South Sudan any longer. Let us conclude a comprehensive agreement without further delay. I thank you.