By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News
ADDIS ABABA — March 5, 2014 … The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, welcomed the conclusion of Phase II of the South Sudan Peace Process, after two weeks of substantive consultations on a Declaration of Principle and a Framework for Political Dialogue towards National Reconciliation and Healing.
She commended the IGAD Special Envoys, including its Chair, Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, for their relentless efforts towards the resumption of the political negotiations and the progress they have achieved thus far.
The Chairperson of the Commission welcomed, in particular, the progress made in finalizing the Agreement on the Declaration of Principles. She expressed the hope that the parties would be able to sign this document at the resumption of the next phase of the talks, on 20 March 2014. The Chairperson reiterated AU’s full support to the envisaged deployment of an African stabilization force led by IGAD, as proposed by the Mediation.
The Chairperson of the Commission also welcomed the signing, on 3 March 2014, by the SPLM/A (in Opposition), of the Implementation Modalities in support of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities (CoH), which was signed by the Government of South Sudan on 24 February 2014.
As part of the implementation and consolidation of the CoH, the Chairperson of the Commission expresses AU’s support to the IGAD efforts. She looks forward to the early deployment of the Monitoring and Verification Teams (MVTs), as well as to the finalization of the work being done towards the deployment of the envisaged African force to protect the MVTs and contribute to the stabilization of the situation.
The Chairperson of the Commission reaffirmed the AU’s commitment to continue to work closely with IGAD and its Special Envoys to assist the South Sudanese parties in finding a consensual and comprehensive solution to the conflict in their country. In this regard, she wishes to remind the South Sudanese parties of the commitment they made to an all-inclusive dialogue and reconciliation process, with the aim of resolving the issues related to the current crisis and laying the foundation for lasting peace, security and stability in their country.
In this connection, the Chairperson of the Commission recalls earlier AU pronouncements, emphasizing the imperative of inclusivity with the participation of all stakeholders, both armed belligerents and those who did not take up arms, including other political actors, civil society, traditional and religious leaders, as well as the youth and women.