After decades of war and just days after the fourth anniversary of South Sudan gaining its independence, it appears that peace maybe in sight. There is great hope that a resolution will be reached sooner rather than later. South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, and his archival, Riek Machar, are in talks to sign a peace agreement as early as August 10th of 2015.
The capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, will be the venue in which a joint meeting will take place on the twentieth day of July. In attendance will be the members of the IGAD-Plus mediation team, including 5 representatives of the African Union. This all-important meeting will allow all involved to make the necessary and final amendments to the peace agreement before it is presented once more to the warring parties. It is expected that said parties will gather in Addis Ababa on July 24th to examine the new draft of the peace agreement.
Each side will be given ten days to review the agreement in their respective home cities in South Sudan. Any additional negotiation will take place on August 5th when each side will be summoned back to Addis Ababa. Both Kiir and Machar will be present during these negotiations. This time will give both sides the opportunity to discuss any concerns they may have regarding the agreement. It is said that if the two parties are not able to reach a happy medium in terms of the agreement, then the original draft that was created by the IGAD-Plus team will stand and be signed.
Many are still skeptical, as this is not the first attempt at ending the feud between Kiir and Machar. The signing of a peace agreement fell through in March when the two could not find common ground on the issues at hand. This time around, there are claims that there will be a price to pay for those not willing to cooperate. The United Nations warns that anyone standing in the way of peace in South Sudan will force the nation to live under what they are calling a transitional government and therefore removing its current leaders from power.
With South Sudan reaching its fourth year of independence, the signing of this peace agreement is long overdue. Too many have suffered and lost their families, dreams, and even their lives. This will be a victory, not only for those women and children whose education and well-being has taken a backseat to violence and war. But it will also be a victory for mankind. Older generations will now be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And a new generation will now experience peace in a land where there once was none.