The government of South Sudan has boycotted the second phase of the IGAD-brokered peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
The second phase of the revitalisation forum kicked off Monday following the December signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement. The agreement has however come under heavy criticism, with reports of violations from the warring sides.
A source who attended the talks in Addis Ababa said the government team skipped the meeting.
“We were called into the meeting hall only to realise that the government delegation was not present. We inquired from the mediation team and we were told the government delegation was demanding more representation,” the source said.
Igad has allocated 12 seats to the government as well as other factions involved in the peace process.
A government official, who preferred anonymity, said they needed more seats “because each and every member of the delegation has a mission for which he was selected by the government to come.”
The government says its team will resume participation once their demand is met.
The second phase of the revitalisation will discuss the implementation of a permanent ceasefire, deliberate on revised and realistic timeline for the general election.
South Sudan plunged into war in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.
A peace deal signed two years later collapsed in July 2016 when fresh fighting in the capital Juba forced Machar into exile.
The renewed violence spread across the country, and numerous new armed opposition groups have formed, further complicating peace efforts.