ADDIS ABABA, Foreign Ministers of member States of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have set June 30 as the deadline for fac-to-face talks between Soouth Sudan President Salva Kiir and his former vice-president turned rebel leader Dr Riek Machar to resolve their differences which have plunged the world’s youngest nation into civil war.

At its 62 ministerial meetng here last Friday, the foreign ministers of the eight-nation Horn of Africa grouping said the two rivals must resolve their differences for the good of the people of South Sudan, which has been suffering from the conflict since December 2013, less than two a half years after gaining independence.

A communique issued by the IGAD Ministerial Council moted that the Ministers have been tasked to consult their Heads of State or Government to fast-track the face-to-face talks between Kiir and Machar before the 31st African Union (AU) summit takes place in Nouakchott, Mauritania, in July.

The communique noted that IGAD ministers recommended that the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government to consult with members of the Assembly on the convening of an Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Assembly and a face-to-face meeting between H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit and H.E. Dr. Riek Machar before the 31st Summit of the Assembly of the African Union to be held on July 1-2, 2018 in Noukakchott, Mauritania.

IGAD ministers also regretted that efforts to resolve the South Sudan conflict, including the August 2015 comprehensive agreement on cessation of hostilities, have not been honoured by the main actors fuelling the South Sudan conflict.

Since war broke out in 2013, thousands of South Sudanese have left the country, with Uganda alone hosting more than 1.3 million South Sudanese refugees.