East African mediation experts on Thursday gathered under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) umbrella to craft solutions on conflict-prevention and peacemaking.
The high-level retreat, which started on Thursday in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, is expected to build regional normative capacity on mediation and strengthen capacities of national institutions in member states to build its architecture on conflict-prevention, peacemaking and peace-building, IGAD said in a statement on Thursday.
IGAD is east Africa's main peace broker as countries in the region are presently ravaged by years-long conflict and violence.
On Wednesday, warring factions in South Sudan signed a revitalized peace agreement in Addis Ababa as the outbreak of the civil war inches toward its fifth anniversary, in which IGAD has been the major factor in facilitating the peace agreement.
IGAD Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim told Xinhua after the peace agreement signing ceremony late on Wednesday that there are practical reasons to believe why the latest peace agreement will stick. "One, the consultation process was much wider.
Two, there has been more factions this time who are invited and who is embraced as people who have a say in the process. Three, there has been a diversified input by each member of IGAD," Maalim said. 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 2016 but was shattered by renewed fighting in July the same year.
Since the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan in December 2013, tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly 4 million others displaced, creating one of the world's most pressing humanitarian crises.
The retreat is expected to create an understanding of the holistic nature of reconciliation and the role it plays in the well-being of all peoples with a strengthened understanding of the role of dialogue and reconciliation within peace processes in the region, IGAD said.