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IGAD Sets Deadline for Final South Sudan Peace Deal

President Salva Kiir (l) and opposition leader Riek Machar (r) exchange copies of a peace deal agreed to in January 2015. At least 9 deals have been signed for South Sudan but none respected.

The East African bloc IGAD, which has been trying for 18 months to restore peace in South Sudan, said this week that a final peace deal for the young nation will be signed on Aug. 17.

An agenda sent out this week by IGAD indicates that peace talks for South Sudan will resume at the beginning of August, after South Sudanese negotiators have consulted with their leaders about a compromise agreement for South Sudan that IGAD has put together.

IGAD lead mediator Seyoum Mesfin said this week a draft of the compromise deal will be handed over next Friday to negotiators for the South Sudan government, former vice president Riek Machar’s armed opposition movement, and a group of former political detainees at a ceremony in Addis Ababa.

Seyoum said the handover ceremony will also be attended by representatives of IGAD Plus, which is made up of the United States and its South Sudan troika partners, the United Kingdom and Norway; the United Nations; the European Union; the African Union, China, and five African nations.

Seyoum did not go into detail about what the compromise agreement includes.

What will hopefully be a lasting peace agreement to end the conflict will be signed in mid-August, 20 months after South Sudan plunged into violence in December 2013.

The last round of talks in March was supposed to be the final chance for President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar to reach a binding peace deal. But those talks sputtered to an end in Addis Ababa on March 6, with no peace agreement signed.