ADDIS ABABA, March 5 (Xinhua) -- A summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is expected to be held before the South Sudanese parties resume their second round of peace talks adjourned to March 20, the East African bloc said Wednesday.
Until March 20, the parties have now a recess to reflect on documents that are the basis for the negotiations, Seyoum Mesfin, IGAD chief mediator, told reporters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
"As for mediator and envoys, we are hoping we will use this period for calling on leaders of IGAD to convene a summit here in Addis Ababa sometime before the 20th of this month so that the summit could give further clarifications, and guidance and directions on how we continue facilitating and meditating this negotiation in South Sudan," he said.
"So, we expect an IGAD summit to take place in Addis Ababa between now and the 20th of this month," he added.
According to the chief mediator, the parties agreed on documents developed by IGAD envoys which, he said, serve as the basis for the negotiations between the parties.
"That does not mean that they have agreed on the entire agenda, but they have accepted as a working document," said Seyoum.
"So, what has been going on for the last two weeks and over was in short can be characterized as talks about talks. Talks about talks means, talks about defining the agendas for the negotiation.
"You can imagine when you have a complex situation like that development in South Sudan, it is not an easy exercise to see for the parties to agree on what agendas they cover," he said.
"They would negotiate on social and humanitarian matters one; two on national reconciliation and healing; three on governance, democracy, and human rights; four on justice and the rule of law institutions; five on economy and development; and the six probably would be the intra-party dialogue," stated Seyoum.
The second achievement that Seyoum underlined is the document, which he said outlines the fundamental principles that the parties would be guided during their negotiations throughout the negotiations to resolve the crisis in South Sudan.
"One of the principles for instance calls on the parties to recognize, to permanently renounce the use of force as a means to resolve political differences. Political differences can only be settled through peaceful, democratic negotiations and understanding.
"The other issue can also be, they also reject to change a democratically elected government through the use of force and to use force as a means to take power and this undermines the sovereignty of the people of South Sudan," he said.
"What deterred us from signing this document was on who should sign this document together," said Seyoum.
The South Sudanese government is of the opinion that the document can only be signed by the government and the party which is to the conflict, according to the official.
The signing by the government and the party in conflict of a detailed document, which outlines the implementation of the cessation of hostilities mechanism for monitoring and verification, is another success point that can be mentioned, said the chief mediator.
"Which means the monitoring and verification mechanism would now be put in place on the ground; it creates a conducive environment to put the monitoring and verification mechanism in place with the support of a protection and stabilization force that is so to be deployed together with civilian component of the mechanism," noted Seyoum.
Seyoum disclosed a "second plan" to convene the civil society organizations representatives conference in Addis Ababa.