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South Sudan crisis dominates AU summit in Rwanda

July 16, 2016 (JUBA) - As African and world leaders met at African Union summit in Kigali, Rwanda, South Sudan’s recent conflict dominated the continental gathering.

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A view of the 22nd African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 31, 2014 (AFP Photo/Solan Gemechu)

South Sudan witnessed violent clashes last week when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar fought in Juba, leaving hundreds dead.

At a mini-summit held in Nairobi Monday, regional leaders discussed how South Sudan’s ongoing power struggle could be resolved and how the two factions can be reined in, to end the hostilities which has reportedly displaced more than 40,000 civilians.

The UN warned of tension and the possibility of fresh fighting in the country’s Juba, where a shaky ceasefire has held since late Monday.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon appreciated Rwanda’s contribution to the world body’s peacekeeping, including in the Central African Republic, Darfur, Sudan and South Sudan.

He met with Rwandan President, Paul Kagame at ongoing African Union’s extraordinary summit, which is taking place in Kigali, Rwanda.

Both leaders, the UN said in a statement, expressed deep concern at the recent escalation of violence in South Sudan, its impact on the civilian population and consequences for the peace process. They urged South Sudanese leaders to demonstrate the commitment required to bring to an end the tragedy unfolding in their country and fulfill their people’s aspirations to peace, security and reconciliation.

“The Secretary-General and the President agreed on the need and urgency of renewed international engagement to advance the quest for peace in South Sudan,” it stated.

According to the world body, the role of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union, including within the framework of the AU High-Level ad hoc Committee on South Sudan, of which Rwanda is a member, was stressed.

“The Secretary-General seized the opportunity to recall the recommendations he made to the Security Council, including an arms embargo, targeted sanctions, and strengthening the capacity of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS),” it further noted.

Also discussed during the meeting in Kigali was the volatile situation in Burundi, where Rwanda was also applauded for hosting thousands of Burundian refugees.

(ST)