ADDIS ABABA, Foreign Ministers of East African countries meeting in South Sudan's capital, Juba, have encouraged the country's National Dialogue Committee set up by President Salva Kiir Mayardit to reach out to the opposition and for the members of the committee to expeditiously move forward in an inclusive, genuine and transparent manner.

A joint communique of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers issued Monday at the end of a two-day meeting, stated that the Ministers underlined the importance of the National Dialogue as "a complementary process to the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) and as a means to reconciliation of the South Sudanese at a grassroots level.

It was further pointed out that the foreign ministers of IGAD, an eight-nation East African security and trading bloc, had condemned in the strongest terms the repeated violations of the permanent ceasefire by all parties to the South Sudan conflict and ensuing violence targeting defenceless civilians, including humanitarian workers, causing huge loss of lives and destruction of property.

The communique noted the positive response of South Sudan's Unity Government to the establishment of the High Level Revitalization Forum for the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement and welcomed the commitment conveyed to the members of the IGAD Council of Ministers by President Kiir to fully collaborate and implement the IGAD Summit's decision of 12 June, 2017.

The IGAD Council of Ministers urges all South Sudanese stakeholders to embrace the objectives of the High Level Revitalization Forum for the Implementation of the ARCSS and collaborate with the IGAD Special Envoy to achieve positive outcome within the timeframe agreed upon by the 57th Extra-Ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers, the communique said.

The council empowered the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, in close collaboration with the Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) to co-ordinate the revitalization process involving all stakeholders and institutions charged with the responsibility of the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement.

It urged all South Sudanese stakeholders to embrace the objectives of the High Level Revitalization Forum for the implementation of the peace agreement and collaborate with the IGAD Special Envoy to achieve positive outcome within the timeframe agreed upon by the 57th Extra-Ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers.

The Ministers welcomed the efforts of Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni to re-unite different factions of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and affirmed that his initiative complements the decision by the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government to revitalize and achieve full implementation of the peace agreement.

The meeting recalled the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Kiir and called upon the Unity Government to ensure the strict implementation of the ceasefire while urging all armed opposition groups to reciprocate and renounce violence.

The foreign ministers also welcomed the support of the African Union, United nations, European Union, the Troika (of the United States, Britain and Norway) and all regional and international partners to the IGAD revitalization plan for the South Sudan peace process.

The IGAD Council of Ministers' meeting was chaired by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workheh Gebeyehu and attended by the foreign ministers of Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda, as well as South Sudan Cabinet Minister Martin Elia and Djibouti's Ambassador to South Sudan.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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