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The Revitalization Process on South Sudan scores its first triumph

The High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) on South Sudan which was convened in the presence of IGAD Chairperson Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and the Chair of the AUC, Moussa Faki Mahamat concluded successfully with a signing of the Agreement of Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access today (December 21), ahead of the anticipated schedule.

Participants to the HLRF, collectively referred to as "the Parties" to the Process, have for the past four days held intense deliberations on procedural, operational and other pertinent matters and have with one voice expressed that they were tired of the civil strife and are fully committed to fast track the peace process. All walks of life in South Sudan were campaigning that they were closely following the result of the negotiations and they will not relent.

Before inviting Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu to the venue, Ismai Wais, the Special Envoy for South Sudan named the 4 days discussions "constructive discussions characterized by seriousness of purpose, flexibility as well as accommodating each other's concerns." The Special Envoy has seriously urged all the parties to the Agreement and the entire people of South Sudan to safeguard what has been achieved at this juncture; and continue to work closely together in the full realization of the Peace Process in South Sudan. The next session of the High Level Revitalization Forum shall be convened in Addis Ababa on January 15, 2018, according to the Special Envoy.

On the occasion, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, Foreign Minister of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the IGAD Council noted that the Agreement was instrumental to bring peace and stability in South Sudan. Dr. Workneh added, "Signing an agreement is, of course, only the first stage. Now South Sudanese stakeholders face the task of implementing these agreements, the necessity of demonstrating the commitments they have agreed to, and the obligations which they have assumed."

The Minister also noted, "We, in IGAD, have consistently encouraged this Revitalization process, because, it is a process that is fully owned by South Sudanese stakeholders."  He underscored  "We will continue to follow up and single out spoilers to be named and shamed, and take action as necessary, to ensure your effort in reaching these decisions is not be wasted."

The agreement would signal the intent of all parties to re-commit to the revitalization agreement that was initially signed in 2018 under the auspices of the IGAD and the International Community.

The understanding and restraint that was demonstrated between and among the major parties have given hope to all other parties that were included to the process.

Ethiopia, as a Chair of IGAD will continue its strong engagement in finalizing the Revitalization Process aims at the full revitalization of the agreement in a realistic timeline.

From the very launch of the HLRF, the AU, the UN, the Troikas, the IGAD Partners Forum, China, Japan and other relevant stakeholders, have played a pivotal role  for the successful outcome of the Forum.