The IGAD Council of Ministers held its 61st Extra-Ordinary Session on March 26, 2018 in Addis Ababa under the Chairmanship of ; H.E Hirut Zemene, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia representing the Chairperson of IGAD Council of Ministers. The Session was attended by H.E. Prof. Ibrahim Ghandour, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan; H.E Amb. Ahmed Isse Awad, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia; H.E Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro, Minister of Cabinet Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan; Hon Mohamed Ali Hassan, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Djibouti; Hon. Ababu Namwamba, Chief Administrative Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya and Hon Oryem Henry Okello, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs/ International Affairs of the Republic of Uganda.
H.E. Mahboub Maalim, IGAD Executive, H.E. Amb. Dr. Ismail Wais, IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan and Amb. Birhanu Kebede, Chief of Staff of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC); Secretary and were also in attendance.
The Special Envoys and High Representatives of the AU, UN, EU and Troika (Norway, UK, US), China and Co-Chairperson of the IGAD Partners Forum (IPF) were also present at the opening session and made statements.
After listening to the Progress Report of the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan on the status of the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) of the ARCSS and report of CTSAMM as well as following exchange of views on the matter;
Takes note of the report of the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Amb. Dr Ismail Wais, on the progress made and challenges encountered during Phase II of the HLRF and endorses the recommendations contained therein on the way forward;
Takes note also of the report of JMEC as well as the observations on the CTSAMM’s Report on the Violation of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access (CoHA);
Recalls its Communiqué of January 27, 2018 as well as press statements of January 25 and March 20, 2018 on violation of the CoHA and non-compliance by both the SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO respectively;
Expresses extreme concern on the report submitted by CTSAMM on flagrant violations of the CoHA by the SPLA-IG troops in the Nassir area, on 12th of February 2018;
Decides in line with the Council’s Communiqué of January 26, 2018 to take targeted sanctions against individual violators and refer to the AU Peace and Security Council for appropriate punitive measures. In this regard, Council requests the Chairperson to transmit CTSAMMs report to the Chairperson of the AU Peace and Security Council;
Urges the TGoNU and the SPLM-IO (RM) to investigate and hold criminally accountable all those found to be responsible and submit to the chair of this Council a report to this effect within 30 days;
Expresses its appreciation and full support to CTSAMM for the commendable work it has accomplished in fulfilment of its renewed mandate under the CoHA, and requests CTSAMM to keep the Council and JMEC informed of any violations and compliance;
Recognizes the significant progress made by the parties during the last sessions of the HLRF, particularly on governance and security issues and, endorses the reconvening of Phase II to continue in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 26th to 30th April 2018;
Decides the house arrest of SPLM/IO Leader Dr Riak Machar be lifted as soon as possible, on conditions that ensure he will renounce violence and not obstruct the peace process and he be allowed to relocate to any country outside the region and are not neighboring South Sudan; designated IGAD Ministers will propose and decide a possible location;
Decides also that the Chairperson of the Council and his colleagues as well as the IGAD Special Envoy South Sudan undertake Shuttle Diplomacy with the parties to reconcile the position of the parties on responsibility sharing and permanent security arrangement before the next Forum;
Urges all the South Sudanese parties participating in the Forum to engage in good faith, in a spirit of compromise to resolve all outstanding issues to achieve the objective of the revitalization;
Commends the IGAD High Level Facilitators on South Sudan namely, H.E. Hanna Serwaah Tetteh, H.E. Ramatne Lamamra and H.E. Georges Rebello Chikoti as well as the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan and the members of the Task Force for their tireless efforts, and encourages them to continue to assist the South Sudanese parties to urgently complete the process of the revitalization;
Reiterates its gratitude for the solidarity and commitment of the AU, UN, Troika (Norway, UK, US), IPF, EU, and China in support of the revitalization process, and calls upon the partners to enhance their support, and engagement with IGAD with a view to overcoming the outstanding challenges facing the HLRF;
Registers its appreciation to the EU and the governments of Norway, China, Japan and the UK for their financial support towards the HLRF Process;
Reiterates its conviction that peace and durable solutions to the extremely grim political, security, economic and humanitarian situation in the Republic of South Sudan can only be achieved through genuine engagement by the South Sudanese parties in the revitalization process; and therefore, calls upon the TGoNU and the Opposition groups not to squander this opportunity for ending the suffering of the people of South Sudan;
Underscores its resolve to continue monitoring and taking necessary measures, including targeted sanctions, against violators of the CoHA as well as spoilers of the peace process;
Takes note of the Resolution of the UN Security Council (UNSCR 2406) of 15 March 2018 that renewed the mandate of UNMISS and the Regional Protection Force (RPF) particularly paragraphs 7 and 8 in support of the implementation of the ARCSS and the peace process;
Takes note also of the UN Security Council’s intention to keep the tasks and composition of UNMISS under active review, based on the possible outcomes of the High-Level Revitalization Forum;
Recommits itself to fulfill the mandate entrusted to it by the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government and reaffirms its resolve to speak with one voice on all issues, and to render all necessary support to the HLRF process;
Agrees convening of an Ordinary Council and Summit to decide on the proposed IGAD Treaty and Leadership, and election of the new Executive Secretary;
Decides to remain actively seized of the situation in South Sudan.
Done in Addis Ababa, on March 26, 2018