Regional bloc urges South Sudan factions towards peace as deadline looms

President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir (R) shakes hands with arch-rival South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar (L) during peace talks at Uganda’s statehouse in Entebbe where they were received by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (C) on July 7, 2018. (Photo by SUMY SADURNI / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUMY SADURNI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, on Wednesday urged South Sudan’s feuding factions to fulfill their pending tasks ahead of a newly agreed 100-day deadline.

The statement was made by the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ismail Wais, while he presided over a two-day workshop organized by the bloc focused on security mechanisms.

“The new 100-days timeframe offers another opportunity for the planning and execution of the pending tasks,” an IGAD statement quoted Wais as saying.

The Special Envoy, however, urged participants to plan for and realize their remaining obligations “within 60-days instead,” as he emphasized the vital imperative “to avoid any risk of missing deadlines due to upcoming holidays and weekends.”

Wais also reiterated IGAD’s “continued commitment and assistance in mobilizing support towards the completion of the pending tasks and the overall success of the South Sudan peace process.”

The IGAD Special Envoy made the remarks weeks after South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and the country’s main opposition leader Riek Machar agreed to postpone the formation of a transitional government of national unity by 100 days.

On Nov. 7, Kiir and Machar agreed to postpone the formation of the transitional governmening body by 100 days in a bid to iron out contentious issues like security arrangements, number and boundaries of states and constitutional amendments.

The world’s youngest nation has been suffering from a civil war since December 2013 that has left tens of thousands of civilians dead and an estimated 4 million others displaced.

A peace deal signed in 2015 collapsed after the outbreak of renewed violence in July 2016, forcing Machar to flee the capital.

Under the 2018 peace deal, Machar will take up one of the four vice presidency positions in the transitional government.

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