Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in South Sudan to mediate between President Salva Kiir and ousted Vice-President Riek Machar. Fighting has spread to several regions of the country., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
African leaders on peace mission in South Sudan
December 27, 2013
JUBA. — Two African leaders arrived in South Sudan yesterday to try to mediate between the country’s president and the political rivals he accuses of attempting a coup that the government insists sparked violence threatening to destroy the world’s newest country.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn were to meet South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir later yesterday, said Michael Makuei Lueth, information minister.
This comes hard on the heels of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union’s 410th meeting on the situation in South Sudan on Wednesday where the pan-African bloc expressed grave concern over the situation in South Sudan.
The council warned an escalating crisis in South Sudan, which has evolved from a political dispute to an armed conflict, with the prospect of rapidly deteriorating further into ethnic clashes and a full-fledged civil war.
It expressed Africa’s deep dismay and disappointment that the continent’s newest nation should descend so rapidly into internal strife, and at the failure of political leaders in the country.
The council voiced alarm at the escalation of ethnic mobilisation by belligerents, and emphasised that such mobilisation of ethnic forces has the potential of causing untold human suffering, tearing apart the social fabric of South Sudan in a manner that causes irreparable societal division and damage.
It strongly condemned the attacks against innocent civilians, including the targeting of ethnic groups and other communities, as well as other violations of human rights, notably against women, children and other vulnerable groups.
It also condemned the attack against a camp of the UN Mission in South Sudan on December 19 in Akobo, which resulted in the death of two peacekeepers.
The council called on the rival sides in South Sudan to act in a spirit of patriotism and vision for the greater national interest.