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Kenyatta and Museveni support Kiir-Machar meeting in Khartoum: Sudan’s FM

June 15, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Kenyan and Ugandan leaders expressed their support for Sudan’s initiative to convene a face-to-face summit in Khartoum between President Salva Kiir and his former First-Vice President turned rebel leader Riek Machar.

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South Sudan’s rebel leader, Riek Machar (R), and president Salva Kiir (L) join hands in prayer before signing an earlier peace agreement in the Ethiopian capita, Addis Ababa, on 9 May 2014 (photo: Reuters)

Sudanese Foreign Minister al-Dirdiri Ahmed travelled to Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to brief the leaders of the three countries about the initiative and sought their support as it is designed to support the IGAD mediation for peace in South Sudan.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who is also the IGAD chair on Thursday voiced his support to the face-to-face meeting and welcomed the initiative, pointing out to the importance of joint work and coordination among the region’s leaders to achieve security and stability in South Sudan.

The foreign ministry issued two statements on Friday following meetings with President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa and President Yoweri Museveni in Entebbe.

"President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed his support for all efforts to gather the leaders of South Sudan to achieve peace there, stressing that his country is also making efforts to help restore peace and security," said a statement issued after the meeting in Khartoum.

President Kenyatta further welcomed Sudan’s efforts to rehabilitate the oil sector in South Sudan and described these efforts as a "vital initiative" to promote stability and achieve prosperity in South Sudan, added the statement.

This is the first time that the Kenyan presidency endorses the initiative of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who met with President Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar recently.

In a separate statement, the foreign ministry spokesperson also announced that Museveni received the al-Dirdiri at his residence in Entebbe where he briefed him about al-Bashir’s initiative to bring Kiir and Machar together within the IGAD efforts for peace in the troubled country.

"The Ugandan President stressed the importance of the meeting between the two leaders, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, stressing his country’s full support for this initiative and his personal readiness to make the utmost effort to work side by side with the President of the Republic," said a statement released after the meeting in Khartoum.

Museveni "expressed his belief that Khartoum is the most appropriate place to hold such a meeting," further reads the statement. Before to add that he pointed that Sudan and Uganda are the most affected countries in the region economically by the conflict and host South Sudanese refugees more than any other country.

No date has been officially announced for Khartoum meeting, but the IGAD Council of Ministers said the face to face meeting should intervene before the African Union summit on 1-2 July.

The SPLM-IO, also, announced that the Ethiopian prime minister invited Machar to meet Kiir in Addis Ababa on 20 June.

The mediation plan to gather all the South Sudanese parties in Addis Ababa for an ultimate Intensive Interlink Consultations from 16-18 June 2018.

Different voices in the South Sudanese opposition said concerned by this face-to-face between Kiir and Machar and called to be associated to this meeting.

(ST)