Premier addresses the High Level Revitalization Forum

The High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) has commenced today (December 18) at the African Union Hall, Addis Ababa during which Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn who is also the Chairperson of the IGAD Summit addressed the Forum calling on all parties to the process including estranged groups not to squander this "final opportunity" to ultimately bring about a viable peace to South Sudan.

The 59th Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers held yesterday has   decided "to urgently convene a High-level Revitalization Forum of the parties to the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) including estranged groups to discuss concrete measures, to restore permanent ceasefire, to full implementation of the Peace Agreement and to develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic election at the end of the transition period", and which mandated "the IGAD Council of Ministers to urgently convene and facilitate this forum in collaboration with relevant stakeholders".

Premier on a keynote speech noting half of the people of South Sudan are suffering from hunger, trans-boundary and internal migration, brutal butchery appealed all relevant stakeholders to stop intransigence and fully embrace revitalization of the 2015 agreement which he noted is "still a practical ground" to fast track the nation building process of the country. Hailemariam also called on all parties to the HLRF to forge cessation of hostilities that would in turn lead to a permanent ceasefire and subsequently get rid of impediments working against the delivery of humanitarian aid.

 Dubbing the situation in South Sudan as a "tragedy", Moussa Faki Mahmat, Chairperson of the AUC said the commencement of the HLRF marked the beginning of genuine peace dialogue that would once and for all end the pitiless fact in the country.  Festus Mogae, Chairperson of the Joint Evaluation and Monitoring Commission, said the meeting is a display of collective commitment by IGAD and the international community that looks forward to witness a South Sudan full of peace and prosperity. He mentioned the need to sustain funding for the implementation of the peace agreement as an essential element in fast tracking the peace process.

Also present were the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan, IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, the Special Envoy of the African Union to South Sudan, and representatives of the United Nations, the European Union, the Troika, the IGAD Partners Forum, and the Republic of China and Japan.

All parties to the Forum will continue discussing on Cessation of Hostilities and Humanitarian Access Agreement and are expected to sign agreements.