IGAD recommends lifting of restrictions on Machar

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers has recommended lifting of restrictions on South Sudan's opposition chief, Riek Machar.

Machar, who is currently living in neighboring Sudan, found himself in house arrest in South Africa following fighting between his forces and those of President Salva Kiir in Juba on July 2016.

The recommendation to lift restrictions on Machar came during the council's meeting in the capital Juba on May 7.

The council argued that Machar had participated in the peace process in a positive manner, recalling the decision of the 33rd Extra-ordinary Summit of the IGAD Heads of State and Government Assembly that the rebel leader was free to travel and reside in a country of his choice within the IGAD member states.

Meanwhile, the council welcomed the outcome of the just concluded meeting of South Sudan's parties, which saw an extension of the pre-transitional period for six months.

At the Addis Ababa meeting held from May 2 to 3, the parties acknowledged there were constraints to implementation of the pre-transitional provisions within eight months in accordance with the peace deal.

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir said last week that the extension agreed with the opposition groups for the formation of a new government was not enough time to implement outstanding issues.

The IGAD council of ministers, however, directed that all steps necessary be taken by all parties to expedite the implementation of the pending tasks, within this extended non-renewable timeline.

It further called upon all non-signatory groups to urgently reconsider their positions, renounce rebellion and choose the path of peace by immediately joining the implementation of the 2018 peace accord.

The council authorized the IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan to conduct one final round of engagement with the non-signatory groups, in particular, General Thomas Cirillo Swaka of NAS and SSUF leader General Paul Malong Awan to persuade them to join the peace process.

Source: Radio Tamazuj

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