South Sudan: Former political detainees pin hope on regional efforts to revive peace

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-10 00:25:23|Editor: yan
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JUBA, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Former political detainees in South Sudan have pinned hope on concerted efforts by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to revitalize the stalled peace process and restore stability in the strife-torn country.

"It is our strong belief and hope that the convening of the proposed revitalization forum by IGAD will greatly enhance durable peace and stability in our strife-torn country and end the immense suffering of our people," Deng Alor Kuol, leader of former political detainees, told a press briefing in Juba on Monday.

Heads of state from IGAD member countries endorsed the creation of a High Level Revitalization Forum to bolster the now-defunct 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).

A delegation of foreign ministers from the region will visit Juba this week on pre-revitalization consultation prior to the commencement of the actual peace forum later this month.

"The group believes that the process can help the parties to address enormous challenges facing the implementation of the peace agreement," Kuol said.

"In our capacity as the representatives of the former political detainees in the transitional government of national unity we accept IGAD initiative to reduce violence and restore peace in South Sudan," said Kuol.

On his part, the leader of Sudan People's Liberation Movement, Former Detainees (SPLM-FDs), Pagan Amum Okiech, told Xinhua over the phone from Nairobi that the forum will bring all stakeholders to discuss how to achieve durable solution to the political crisis in the country.

"Our hope is that all the parties will be positive in the interest of peace in South Sudan," said Okiech.

Regional and pan-African blocs have joined hands with multilateral agencies in meditating talks that resulted in the August 2015 peace accord, which aimed to end bloodshed and introduce a series of fundamental political, security, economic and transitional justice reforms.

Despite regional and international endorsement, the peace agreement stalled months after Machar returned to the country in April 2016.

The 2015 agreement was again violated in July 2016 when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and former First Vice President resumed fighting in the capital, Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions that have sought refuge in neighboring countries.