IGAD to deploy troops in South Sudan
Addis Ababa, 13 March 2014 (WIC) – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of States Thursday agreed to deploy troops into South Sudan to help enforce a ceasefire deal between government and rebels forces.
"These troops are envisaged to be on the ground by no later than mid-April," Seyoum Mesfin, the chief mediator, said at the conclusion of the 25th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Heads of States.
Seyoum said the summit has called on the African Union and United Nations Security Council to support the deployment of ‘a protection and deterrence force’ in South Sudan. The chief mediator said IGAD Heads of States have strongly urged the waring factions to demonestrate commitment to end the war.
Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda will contribute troops while Djibouti is also expected to join a force that will seek logistical support from the African Union and the United Nations Security Council.
The 25th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Heads of State discussed a report from Seyoum Mesfin on the progress of peace talks.
South Sudan is torn in war since December 15, 2013 between troops loyal to the president Salva Kirr and those loyal to sacked vice-president Riek Machar. Although the two sides signed an IGAD-brokered ceasefire agreement in January 2014, heavy fighting has continued.
The next round of talks between the warring factions is expected to resume in Addis Ababa on March 20.
African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said in her opening remarks IGAD and African Union will continue to work on how best to implement the cessation of hostilities and expressed AU’s readiness to “assist IGAD in its effort to bring peace in South Sudan.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, President Uhuru Kenyatta, who arrived in Addis Ababa four days ago on a state visit, President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Uganda’s President Museveni were among the heads of states who attended the summit. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir was also at the meeting.
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