The two warring factions in South Sudan failed to agree on a power-sharing agreement on Saturday, spoiling the party for conflict-battered citizens and an eager high-level delegation of East African presidents who had assembled in Ethiopia to witness the historic event.
The two sides – one led by President Salva Kiir and the other by former Vice-President Riek Machar – however, agreed to an immediate and unconditional cessation of violence.
At the meeting held in Addis Ababa, Kenya and her neighbours also bowed to pressure from the West and agreed to freeze the assets of political leaders of the warring factions if they flout the new peace agreement.
The final communiqué from the summit was silent on the failure of the power-sharing deal, although Foreign Affairs Secretary Ms Amina Mohammed and the president’s communication’s team alluded to it.
The communiqué only said the South Sudan government and Mr Machar’s SPLM/A had been granted 15 more days to “consult their respective constituencies on the agreed agenda”.
In a series of tweets on Friday, Ms Mohammed announced a breakthrough in the talks but said the team had failed to reach a compromise on “one” issue.
“There is a deal on South Sudan. Parties agree on immediate cessation of hostilities and on all other issues except one,” tweeted Ms Mohammed.
POWER SHARING AGENDA
And on Friday, President Kenyatta’s communications team sent a statement to newsrooms stating that power-sharing was on the agenda.
“President Kenyatta – in his capacity as Igad Rapporteur and EAC chairman – and PM Hailemariam who is Igad chairman, met South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar in Addis Ababa on Friday on issues around power-sharing,” read the statement in part.
The list of those who attended the talks also gave it away. It had attracted a total of seven regional heads of state. The meeting was jointly steered by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopia’s PM Hailemariam Desalegn.
The talks were also attended by Presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Omar Hassan al-Bashir (Sudan), Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Djibouti), Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Somalia) and Mr Kiir.
Others who were waiting to witness the grand event were representatives of the UN, China, Denmark, Japan, the European Union, Norway, US, UK and the Igad Partners Forum.
Fighting broke out in South Sudan last December, leaving thousands dead and displacing 1.5 million people.