COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE 71ST EXTRA-ORDINARY SESSION OF IGAD COUNCIL OF MINISTERS ON THE SITUATION IN SOUTH SUDAN 23rd April 2020 Virtual Meeting
April 23, 2020 (Thessherald)–The IGAD Council of Ministers held its 71st Extra-Ordinary Session on the 23rd April 2020 via zoom video conference, under the chairpersonship of H.E. Asma Abdalla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan to deliberate on the status of implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). The meeting was attended by H.E. Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Djibouti; H.E. Gedu Andargachew, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; H.E. Amb. Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya; H.E. Ahmed Isse Awad, Minister for Affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia; H.E. Amb. Beatrice Khamisa Wani, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan; and H.E. Sam Kutesa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda.
Also, in attendance were H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu Negewo, the Executive Secretary of IGAD; H.E. Amb. Dr. Ismail Wais, the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan; H.E. Amb. Lt. Gen. Augostino Njoroge, Interim Chair of RJMEC; and H.E. Maj. Gen. Teshome Gemechu, Chair of CTSAMVM.
After listening to a statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Amb. Beatrice Khamisa Wani, and reports by the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, H.E. Amb. Ismail Wais, and the Interim Chairperson of RJMEC, H.E. Amb. Lt. Gen. Augostino Njoroge;
- Congratulated the people of South Sudan and the Parties to the R-ARCSS on the formation of the Revitalized Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) and appreciated the leadership of the Parties especially President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar for the compromise reached in the formation of the R-TGoNU;
- Applauded the critical role played by the IGAD Heads of State and Government in helping resolve the deadlock on the number of states and their boundaries paving the way for the formation of the R-TGoNU;
- Acknowledged and lauded the persistence and zeal of the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan and other regional Special Envoys in supporting the implementation of the R-ARCSS as well as the important work that Agreement mechanisms and institutions are doing in particular RJMEC and CTSAMVM in monitoring the implementation of the R-ARCSS;
- Noted with concern delays in the completion of some important pretransitional tasks such as the reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA); and in this regard, urged the President of the Republic to dissolve the incumbent TNLA before 30th April 2020, and called upon the Parties to reconstitute the TNLA in accordance with the R-ARCSS within ten (10) days of the dissolution of the incumbent TNLA;
- Also expressed concern with the impasse among the Parties in agreeing on responsibility-sharing at the State and Local Governments levels; and in light of this, called on the Parties to immediately resume discussions and consultations and reach on an agreement within fifteen (15) days of the issuance of this Communique;
- Further noted with concern the apparent lack of collegiality and harmony within the Executive of the R-TGoNU as demonstrated by disputes with respect to the appointment of public political appointments, urged the President of the Republic, in the spirit of inclusivity and harmony, to undertake the necessary consultations with concerned officials and organs in accordance with the R-ARCSS or the TCSS 2011 (as amended) while making public political appointments;
- Observes that the substantive alterations made to the Constitutional Amendment Bill, as submitted by the NCAC, and passed as Constitutional Amendment Act by the TNLA contravene the provisions of the R-ARCSS, and hence are null and void;
- Alarmed by the recent defections within Parties to the R-ARCSS that is breeding mistrust and mutual suspicion among them, urges the Parties to refrain from encouraging, enticing or rewarding defections and defectors in order to maintain a peaceful and harmonious environment conducive for the implementation of the Agreement;
- Called on Parries in particular SSOA and OPP to resolve their internal divisions and wrangles amicably as it is causing serious delays and posing challenges in the implementation of the Peace Agreement;
- Noted the failure of the Parties to the R-ARCSS in observing the 35% women representation requirement in the Executive of the R-TGoNU as provided in the R-ARCSS; and urged all Parties to ensure that the 35% women representation is respected and adhered to in future nominations to various public offices;
- Aware of the financial predicaments of CTSAMVM and the DDR Commission, appealed to Member States and the international community to expeditiously provide the required financial and material support to the mechanisms to enable them to effectively discharge their respective mandates;
- Cognizant of the serious multifaceted threats posed by the COVID 19 pandemic in the implementation of the Peace Agreement; decided to work closely with the Government of South Sudan and regional and international partners to help mitigate and overcome the economic, financial and humanitarian crises that are caused by the pandemic;
- Welcomed the signing on 13th February 2020 of the Rome Resolution on Monitoring and Verification of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of 2017, between the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) and ITGoNU, and endorsed it with a view to create a conducive environment for an all-inclusive peace process in South Sudan;
- Decided to remain seized of the matter.
Done on 23rd April 2020