November 22, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir left Juba for the first time in five months for an African-Arab summit in Equatorial Guinea.
- South Sudan President Salva Kiir waits for the arrival of his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, in Juba on May 23, 2013. (Photo Reuters)
President Kiir was seen off by First Vice President Taban Deng Gai and several ministers. A short statement from Kiir’s office said the he is being accompanied by several ministers and businessmen.
“He is joining other World leaders for the 4th Africa-Arab Summit. The meeting is attended by other head of states,” the statement reads partly.
President Kiir never left the capital Juba since the eruption of fighting between his forces and troops loyal to the former First Vice President and leader of the SPLM in Opposition Riek Machar.
Rumours of ill-health forced President Kiir to march on the streets of capital Juba and address the public for the first time in September.
The trip to Equatorial Guinea, according to the office of the president, will be used to solicit support for peace. Also, Kiir is expected to hold meetings with the Arab leaders from the Gulf countries to get some loans for his country.
He is quoted to have said “I’m for peace, stability and development and with the power of God things will change one day (sic).”
The Africa-Arab Summit is the annual event in which leaders from the African continent and in the Arabs world meet to interact and share ideas about how they would work together to promote their economic activities for the benefits of their people.
The summit scheduled to take place in Equatorial Guinea is the fourth of its kind since the idea was adopted. Regional leaders, including Sudanese president Omer Ahmed Hassan al-Bashir, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, Zambia’s Edgar Lungu as well as leaders from Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are expected to attend the summit.
This year’s Summit is being held under the theme “Together for a sustainable economic development”. The last summit was hosted by Kuwait in 2013.