By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
December 9, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – Chairperson of the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Friday urged Kenyan Government to reverse its decision to withdraw its troops from war torn South Sudan.
IGAD chair, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn made the calls at the 29th IGAD extraordinary summit of heads of state and government opened today in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
“South Sudan still remains on critical juncture and the economy stays in sever progress and humanitarian situation also calls for serious attention” Hailemariam said in his opening remark.
He said peace in South Sudan is equally crucial for peace and security in the volatile east African region.
He noted Kenya is an anchor for peace and security in South Sudan and at the region at large.
“I therefore appeal up on the Kenyan government to reconsider its decision to withdraw its forces from South Sudan and to consider its participation”
Last month Kenyan government ordered an immediate withdrawal of its troops deployed in South Sudan, and discontinues plans to contribute to the Regional Protection Force.
A week later Kenya withdrew a first batch of around 100 troops.
Kenya’s decision to withdraw its troops who had served in a UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan was in response to the sacking of Kenyan commander of the UNMISS force.
UN has accused UNMISS of failing to respond to an attack on a Juba hotel during fighting in July leading to killing of civilians.
In response, UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon’s fired UNMISS force Commander Lt. Gen. Johnson Mogoa Kimani.
Here at the IGAD summit, the Ethiopian premier lauded South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, for allowing deployment of regional protection force in to the youngest nation.
He stressed a need for the rival parties to unconditionally cease fire and refrain from hostilities if the world’s youngest nation is to secure durable peace and security and to achieve sustainable development.
Hailemariam further said emerging demand by some parties for the reversion of the peace deal is unacceptable.
He added peace agreement is the only roadmap for sustainable peace in South Sudan.
Discussion and consultations on the current situation in South Sudan and Somalia are top on agenda.