ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia expects the South Sudanese revitalization forum being held in Addis Ababa this week will be fruitful, says Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Meles Alem, who notes that the five-day forum is being held in the spirit of understanding.

As the discussion so far is very promising, the warring parties are expected to conclude an accord which will help to bring peace to that country, Meles told a media briefing here Thursday. "If the agreement is signed as expected, it is a victory for Ethiopia as a country which has been exerting a strong effort for peace in South Sudan.

Meles explained that Ethiopia, which had exerted great efforts to restore peace in South Sudan, was still dedicated to working for the benefit of South Sudan. "The comment that we get from all the South Sudanese parties is that 'the solution for the problem in our country is in Addis Ababa; we believe in the leadership in Ethiopia and IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development)".

IGAD is an eight-nation Horn of Africa grouping, currently chaired by Ethiopia, which is at the vanguard of international efforts to restore peace to South Sudan, the world's youngest nation where conflict broke out between rival groups in late 2013, just two and half years after it gained independence and seceded from Sudan.

Leaders of both sides of the civil war in South Sudan have understood that war cannot bring about the change they desire in their country, Meles said.

In a statement during the opening of the five-day revitalization forum on Monday, the IGAD Council of Ministers had threatened to take punitive measures against spoilers of South Sudan's peace process. The provides a unique opportunity to bring IGAD, regional and international parties together to end the conflict with the stakeholders at the negotiating table.


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