Categories: News

Region may use force should both parties fail to reach a deal by August 17 – Ethiopia warns

Ethiopian troops on an African Union duty (File Photo)

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has strongly warned that the region may insert a clause in the would-be final agreement on peace process which would allow them to use force if the two warring parties fail to reach a deal on August 17.
A senior Ethiopian diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who gave his only name as Beyene has told the Upper Nile Times on Monday afternoon that regional leaders and Troika have run out of patience by the continuous intransigence of the two warring parties and that a final peace agreement must be “imposed from elsewhere even if it involves squandering the sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan”
The diplomat disclosed that sponsors of the ongoing peace talks such as Troika and other aid givers to the displaced South Sudanese civilians are overstretched and cannot see helping South Sudan beyond 2015.
“The region and International community have concluded that this should be the only last chance for the warring leaders of South Sudan to strike a peace deal. Lets remember that the IGAD peace talks started in January 2014, shortly after the crisis broke out there. The warring parties especially Dr Riek Machar and Salva Kiir should not expect an unending peace process. They were given a chance to show leadership by working out their differences in round tables in Ethiopia and later in Kenya, then they let their egos overshadow the immediate need of their own people, and thus could not strike a deal. This is the last chance and international community as well as the region will act swiftly.” – Ato Beyene said.
Asked to clarify what the action of the region and international community will entail. Beyene said that nothing is off the table.
“Sanctions and arms embargo are being discussed by the UN, US and the diplomats of the International community but the region may use force. The IGAD leaders would discuss ways to insert a clause on the final peace agreement to warrant intervention militarily. But we hope that it does not come to this and that both warring leaders will show leadership and rescue their people. It will not be the interest of the region to intervene but if it means saving lives, its would be worth it.” – Beyene added.
The Ethiopian diplomat also disclosed that if both parties couldn’t bridge their differences in the recently issued ” IGAD-Plus Compromise agreement”, the document will be imposed.
Both warring parties are still consulting with their respective bases currently. The government in Juba already indicated that they rejected “most parts of the document” especially the article where the SPLMIO is given 53% share of the states of the Greater Upper Nile and demilitarization of Juba city.
The SPLMIO however has reservations on some parts of the document especially the missing power ratios in the other 7 states, saying doing that will breed rebellion at later stage in the transitional period. The group accepted the demilitarization of Juba saying that this will help in ensuring that a massacre such as the one that bred the rebellion in December 2013 can be prevented that way.
South Sudan’s civil war is believed to have killed more than 50,000 people since it first erupted in Juba in December 2013. Majority of the people died according to the UN estimates come from Juba a lone where a massacre against the Nuer civilians occured. The conflict has so far spread to other states, displacing millions of people internally or outside the country.



Tekle Mariam: A Senior news correspondent for The Upper Nile Times based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.