The East African bloc, IGAD, said Thursday the next round of the much-delayed South Sudan peace talks will resume in neighboring Ethiopia next month.
Ismail Wais, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Special Envoy to South Sudan, said the next phase of the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) will be held in Addis Ababa from May 17-21.
Wais said there was a need for more time to allow continuation of shuttle diplomacy meetings with the South Sudan warring parties to the conflict.
"It is based on this that the office of the Chairperson of IGAD Council of Ministers decided to postpone the next HLRF Phase II to allow continuation of shuttle diplomacy meetings with the Parties to the South Sudan conflict in order to have a meaningful outcome of the mediation," he said in a statement.
He said the chairperson of the IGAD council of ministers met with IGAD ambassadors in Addis Ababa on Wednesday and after deliberation and assessing the positions of the Parties decided to postpone the convening of the next round of peace process.
The forum was proposed in June 2017 to discuss full implementation of the 2015 peace agreement and develop a revised and realistic timeline to realize sustainable peace in the country.
The conflict in South Sudan, which has entered its fifth year, has taken a devastating toll on the people, creating one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under UN pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government in April but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.