IGAD hopeful of peace in South Sudan
Updated: 2016-07-14 21:01
By Lucie Morangi(chinadaily.com.cn)
Africa is upbeat that instability rocking South Sudan would be resolved soon. Talking on the sidelines of the ongoing 27th African Union (AU) Summit, the continent's leaders said their optimism has been bolstered by recent cessation of hostilities observed in the last three days.
"We are happy that the guns have been hushed," said Amina Mohamed, Kenya's foreign minister referring to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade block consisting of countries found in the Horn of Africa and the Africa Great Lakes.
Africa's youngest country was rocked by violence on Thursday following fighting among rival guards allied to President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar.
The communiqué that condemns the violence has been issued after an extraordinary meeting by IGAD ministers of foreign affairs. The ministers called for cessation of hostilities and reinforcement of United Nations Mission in South Sudan(UNIMISS)'s mandate to protect civilians.
"We are actively engaged with the government of South Sudan in this matter and have been holding conversations. Juba has positively responded and opened up humanitarian corridors. A summit will probably be held on Saturday here in Kigali to review progress," said Mohamed.
The minister urged the international community to support IGAD. "South Sudan is a sisterly nation to us and we want to be as supportive as before to ensure that the contentious issues do not recur. South Sudan has resolved its issues before and we expect them to rise to the occasion and do so again for its people," said the Kenyan minister.
In agreement, Tedros Adhanom, Ethiopia minister of foreign Affairs said return of peace in Juba was encouraging. He said South Sudan government had positively responded to IGAD's demands and called for the transitional government to engage in dialogue that would revive their commitment to the peace agreement.
South Sudan was just settling down after three years of conflict. IGAD negotiated a peace deal that saw Dr Machar reinstated as First Vice President in April.
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