South Sudan government has refused to send representatives to peace talks in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.
“We were called into the meeting hall only to realize that the government delegation was not present. We inquired from the mediation team and we were told the government delegation was demanding more representation,” a source who attended the meeting said.
The peace talks are brokered by IGAD – Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an eight-country trade bloc.
The second phase of High-Level Revitalization Forum kicked off Monday after the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement.
The agreement has come under heavy criticism, with reports of violations on both sides of the warring factions accusing each other.
Sources that attended the meeting say the South Sudan government’s attempt to block the process was rejected and the meeting took off without their representation.
The head of the IGAD Council of Ministers, Workineh Gebeyehu said, “It is your very last chance for peace.” And urged the parties to strike apolitical deal and to respect the cessation of hostilities.
He said if the parties squandered this chance, they would be blamed for what is happening in South Sudan.
The African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat urged team members to take the talks seriously to ensure that it succeeds.