Kenya's President Kenyatta Visits Juba as South Sudan Political Crisis Worsens

President Uhuru Kenyatta Wednesday morning left the country for Juba, South Sudan for a one day official visit.

Kenya's President Kenyatta Visits Juba as South Sudan Political Crisis Worsens
President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) Interior CS Joseph ole Lenku (left) and Kenya's envoy in South Sudan cisis resolution Dalmas Otieno moments before depature to Juba. (Photo:PSCU)

By PSCU

Nairobi, Kenya -The President and his delegation departed Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly before 10am. He was seen off by senior Government officials led by Interior and National Co-ordination Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and the Chief of Defence Forces General Julius Karangi.

President Kenyatta, who is the current EAC chairman, is leading a high powered delegation for talks with the host President Salva Kiir on the heightening political crisis in the neighbouring country. In the delegation are Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed and President’s special envoy in the peace process, former Cabinet Minister Dalmas Otieno, an expert on South Sudan.

The visit also comes a day after the National Security Council (NSC) approved deployment of an additional 310 troops to the Kenya Battalion (Kenbatt 22) in South Sudan in line with the UN Security Council Resolution of 24 December, 2013. The additional deployment increases the current strength to 1,000 troops. Kenya warns Kenya’s additional troops’ deployment comes after flaring of fresh skirmishes between the warring factions in breach of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed by the Government of South Sudan and the rebels on Jan. 23 in Addis Ababa.

The Inter-Government Agency on Development (IGAD), which has been brokering peace in the South Sudan, is concerned with the renewed clashes and urges the parties to immediately adhere to the agreement and continue with their strong commitment to the mediation process, given that the crisis in South Sudan cannot be solved by military means, but rather through political dialogue. Both the government and the rebels continued to accuse each other of violating the cessation of hostilities agreement signed between the two groups at peace negotiations in Ethiopia.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed by fighting in the political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy president, Riek Machar. An estimated 870,000 others have fled their homes, 145,000 of them to neighboring countries and 75,000 to UN Mission bases in South Sudan.

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