It is to be recalled that the Parties to the two and a half year-old conflict in South Sudan agreed to a peaceful settlement of their differences after the long-drawn out IGAD-led process of mediation and negotiation that culminated in the establishment of a Transitional Government of National Unity. It was hoped that this process, midwifed by IGAD and its partners in the international community, including the African Union, would bring lasting peace and stability to the people of South Sudan. It is deeply unfortunate that barely four months after the return of the SPLM-IO leader to assume his agreed position in government, it appears that hostilities have erupted once again threatening the sustainability of the peace agreement to which all sides have pledged their full commitment.
In the light of developments unfolding in Juba and in other parts of the country, it is clear that some unruly elements wish to backtrack on their commitments to peace. The situation threatens to spiral out of control, once again exposing millions of civilians to senseless violence and the whole country to interminable chaos. The leaders of South Sudan can, and must, demonstrate their determination and ability to rise up to this new challenge immediately.
As Chairperson of IGAD, I am deeply disturbed by the fighting and the deaths that have occurred. I would emphasize that both the Government and the opposition in South Sudan are duty bound to exercise restraint and avoid any measures that are likely to escalate the situation. Any extension of the current crisis, and a return to open conflict, could result in a return to the previous widespread violence against civilians. This would be a terrifying disservice to the people of South Sudan. It would also demonstrate a deliberate effort to undermine the firm determination of the regional countries, IGAD and the international community to end to violence and ensure peace and security in South Sudan.
While I am encouraged by the call for calm by the two leaders, there is no doubt that situation requires us all to redouble our efforts to help restore peace and stability in the country. IGAD's Executive Council will convene shortly to consider the situation on the ground and deliberate on the next course of action.
In the meantime, as Chairperson of IGAD, I would call upon all parties to refrain from violence and urgently take all necessary steps to restore peace and stability in the capital and other parts of the country.
10th of July 2016 Prime Minister Hailemariam of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Chairperson of IGAD