South Sudan peace monitors call for sobriety ahead of peace talks
JUBA, May 14 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan peace monitors on Monday called on warring parties to the conflict not to squander any opportunity during the next round of peace talks slated for Thursday in Ethiopia.
Festus Mogae, the chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), said the leaders of the world's youngest nation have missed so many opportunities to end the more than four years' conflict and achieve a durable peace.
"This is the time for all parties at the forum to put the interest of the country first and make compromises necessary to achieve resolution of all the outstanding issues," Mogae said after he announced the postponement of 21st JMEC plenary meeting in Juba.
He reiterated the urgent need to revisit the range of practical measures that can be applied on peace saboteurs and make it clear to all concerned that the world will not tolerate any further disruption of efforts to deliver peace.
"I want to appeal directly to the authorities here in Juba and to all the opposition groups that you are all South Sudanese, and I urge you all to accommodate one another, to end this senseless violence," said the former Botswana president.
He expressed his disappointment over the violation of a cessation of hostilities agreement that was signed in Addis Ababa, seen as the desired impact of halting the violence.
"I continue to urge the parties to adhere to the CoHA (ceasefire). The parties must refrain from all acts of violence, cease hostilities and take immediate steps to investigate and punish those responsible within their ranks," Mogae stressed.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) led High-Level Revitalization Peace Forum (HLRF) is scheduled to resume on Thursday.
South Sudan's conflict has now entered its fifth year. The conflict erupted in 2013 after forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar engaged in combat.
The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital, Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.
Millions of South Sudanese civilians have sought refuge in neighboring countries as the conflict rages on despite attempts by international players to end it.