Heads of State and Government of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have failed to come up with tangible resolutions to deal with raging conflict in South Sudan after President Salva Kiir failed to show up, citing a busy schedule.

Three other presidents from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) member states also failed to attend the Monday meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The extraordinary Igad Summit said on Monday that it would set up a forum of the parties to the August 2015 peace agreement to revive talks and revise the election timeline to a more realistic date.

South Sudan was scheduled to hold elections in August next year.

“In this regard, the IGAD Summit calls upon all the parties to take urgent steps to draw concrete plan and timeline to compensate the delay and to revitalise the full implementation of the peace agreement,” said the East African leaders in a communique.

The leaders tasked Igad’s council of ministers to urgently set up the forum that would “include estranged groups”, but did not specify when or what form it would take.

Igad said it would work closely with the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to take all necessary measures to hold to account individuals and groups committing human rights violations and worsening the humanitarian crises.

Calls for AU and UN to lead the peace process have been growing, with Igad accused of failing to end the war in South Sudan.

Fighting broke out in December 2013 after President Kiir sacked his deputy Riek Machar. Numerous peace and ceasefire agreements have been broken, with the latest –signed in August 2015- having stalled.

Igad said on Monday it would also convene a meeting of military heads from the region, the UN and the South Sudan government to discuss outstanding issues and “determine a definitive timeline for the full deployment of the Regional Protection Force”.

The force was to be deployed about nine months ago but South Sudan had been reluctant to accept the deployment of the 4,000-strong soldiers. The first batch of military engineers from Rwanda and Bangladesh arrived in Juba early May.

The summit, chaired by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, included presidents Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni.

Heads of state who skipped the meeting included Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the rapporteur of the South Sudan peace agreement. Mr Kenyatta is campaigning for a second term of office during the August 8 General Election. Djibouti’s Ismail Guelleh and Somalia’s Mohammed Farmajo also sent representatives.

President Kiir has sent his first vice president Taban Deng Gai. Somali prime minister Hassan Khaire, and Foreign ministers Mahmoud Youssouf of Djibouti and Amina Mohamed of Kenya were also present.

Source: The EastAfrican

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