Khartoum, Sudan - The African Union (AU) has welcomed the agreement reached by the warring South Sudanese parties in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Thursday on the cessation of hostility and the status of detainees. The agreement, aimed at ending weeks of fighting that has left thousands dead and displaced, was reached at the talks in the Ethiopian capital between South Sudanese government and rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.
The talks were held under the mediation of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the signing of the pact was witnessed by the AU Peace and Security Commissioner Smaïl Chergui.
An AU statement obtained by PANA here said the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, commended the parties for the spirit of compromise and mutual accommodation which they demonstrated in the course of the negotiations.
Dr. Dlamini Zuma also expressed AU's “deep appreciation” of the commitment and leadership of the IGAD Chair, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, and the other Heads of State and Government of the region.
She hailed the perseverance and untiring efforts of the IGAD Mediation Team chaired by Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin and comprising Gen. Lazaro Sumbeiywo and Gen. Mohamed Ahmed M. El Dabi.
The AU Commission Chairperson said the signing of the pact marked “a first and significant step” towards the search for a lasting solution to the conflict in South Sudan, and called on the parties to “faithfully and fully implement the commitments” they have made, so as to rapidly improve the humanitarian situation on the ground.
“In this respect, she stresses the importance of the early establishment and operationalisation of the monitoring and verification mechanism provided for in the Agreement, and calls on the parties to extend full cooperation to IGAD,“ the AU statement quoted her as saying.