, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – Kenyans visiting South Sudan will from now apply for visas at border control points following a deal struck by President Uhuru Kenyatta during his visit to Juba on Wednesday.
President Salva Kiir agreed to a request that Kenyans be granted visas at border entry points in a move that will boost cross-border visits.
During his visit to South Sudan, President Kenyatta emphasised that Kenya’s northern neighbour remains an important trading partner despite the current conflict.
“This is an important development for Kenya and the region. It shows that we are prepared to walk the talk,” the Head of State said on arrival from Juba.
While in South Sudan, Kenyatta held talks with his counterpart on ways of restoring peace after renewed tension in the world’s newest nation.
The visa deal is significant in terms of recent gains in Northern Corridor Infrastructure talks that partly seek to see the free movement of people, goods and services in the region.
He urged all leaders in South Sudan to do everything they can for the sake of peace and stability not just in their country but the entire region.
“We came this morning to share our concern about the issues that are ongoing and, indeed, the need for us to be able to find a speedy resolution in order to enable the people of South Sudan get on with more critical matters of economic and social development, which I believe is their desire,” he said.
He expressed Kenya’s concern over renewed hostilities in parts of South Sudan and assured Kiir and the people of South Sudan that the country stood in solidarity with them.
“We have had fruitful discussions with President Kiir and I strongly believe we have assured him of our support in this particular process,” he said.
The President expressed confidence that the position taken by IGAD on cessation of hostilities will be followed and implemented by both parties to the South Sudan crisis.
He indicated that a monitoring mechanism of the peace process should be put in place in the shortest time possible.
“All these efforts are geared towards ensuring a speedy resolution of the conflict and the restoration of peace for the benefit of the people of South Sudan and stability of the whole region. When this is done we will be able to focus our energies and our attention on driving the social and economic agenda of our region forward,” he stated.