Kenya backs inter-party talks to resolve S. Sudan conflict
16 April 2014, 08:18
Nairobi - The Kenyan government on Tuesday backed inter-party talks to help resolve four-month conflict in South Sudan.
Deputy President William Ruto said Kenya was committed to the peace in the world's newest nation under the auspice of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which is seeking to bring normalcy.
"We need every input by the leadership in the continent to have the peace process to succeed," Ruto said in Nairobi during a meeting with South African special envoy to South Sudan, Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss the peace process in Juba.
He lauded inter-party talks between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) factions saying if encouraged the discussions could provide the platform for peace.
The deputy president said as a country Kenya would not like to see an increase in refugees from other countries in the region as it already hosts millions in refugee camps.
Saying that the IGAD peace needed a catalyst from the African continent, Ruto welcomed the involvement of the South Africa in peace process.
Ruto called for a speedy resolution to the South Sudan conflict, saying the more it takes to resolve, the more the positions are entrenched and the wider the gaps between the warring factions grows.
The peace talks led by regional mediation bloc, IGAD which started in January have been adjourned until April 22. Mediators said several steps need to be taken by both parties now that they have signed the agreements.
The ceasefire seeks to ease a political dispute in the world's youngest nation between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, who was removed from office in July of 2013 and later accused of attempting a coup.
The tensions escalated on Dec. 15, 2013 into a full-scale conflict between forces loyal to either side, driving about 1 million people from their homes and leaving twice as many in dire need of aid.
Ramaphosa noted that the suffering of the people of South Sudan needed urgent resolution, adding that it was imperative to bring the former Vice President Riek Machar and the released political detainees to meet President Salva Kiir so as to quickly bring peace and stability in the country.
He said Kenya's role in the peace process was critical considering it has been hosting refugees from the country for a long time and its involvement in brokering peace that culminated in the signing of the landmark peace deal in Nairobi.
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