Leaders of the East African region have recently said that they will revive all efforts to return peace to South Sudan’s warring sides. Following this decision, the country’s election which was supposed to hold August next year has been postponed.

At the meeting in Ethiopia which was attended by the head of states, it was agreed that they would set up a forum where the rivals will come to a ceasefire agreement after a civil war that has lasted for more than three years. Without specifying when and what form it would take.

The forum would also develop a “revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic election at the end of the transition period,” IGAD added in a statement.

South Sudan’s new vice president, Taban Deng Gai, had asked Monday’s meeting to bar Machar from any future forums. Gai also said elections should go ahead as planned – a position initially backed by Yoweri Museveni, the president of South Sudan’s neighbour Uganda, according to diplomats at the talks.

But the delegates finally decided warring sides would be invited and it would be “too premature” to stage the vote given the current levels of violence, diplomats said.