, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – Kenya does not intend to send troops to South Sudan despite a resolution by the United Nations Security Council for the deployment of a 5,500-strong force to end hostilities.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on Wednesday confirmed that Kenya had been approached to send troops, but ruled out deployment of forces there.
“Some countries have already agreed to provide troops while others are considering the provision of troops. We have been approached to provide troops, so have many other countries both in Africa and outside Africa,” she said.
“The United Nations Security Council together with the government of South Sudan has adopted a resolution to allow 5,500 troops to take position if calm is not restored.”
“The question of whether we are going to see troops in the Republic of South Sudan… if need arises for the resolution of the Security Council to be implemented then yes, soldiers will proceed to ensure that peace and normalcy return,” said Mohamed.
Speaking during the signing of performance contracts for the ministry’s directors the CS supported the presence of Ugandan troops in the war torn country saying that they were given the directive by Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Mohamed also assured of Kenya’s commitment to continue providing humanitarian support to South Sudan as efforts are made to restore peace.
“As a country, our key goal was and still is to help, we evacuated the people especially our very own and we have been sending amenities to the people that are still in the heat of the skirmishes.”
Last Friday, East African Community Foreign Ministers categorically stated that they support the continued stay of the Ugandan army in war-torn South Sudan.
At the time, Mohamed observed that Uganda was only helping in protecting State installations as well citizens.
She said the negotiation team by IGAD to South Sudan was credible enough to continue with the ongoing peace talks between President Salvar Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar.
“After Uganda took its army to South Sudan there was an IGAD meeting that recognised the role they have played. We had a summit here and there was a communiqué that was adopted which supports the Ugandan troops to protect the infrastructure in South Sudan,” she stated.
The stand comes despite reports that Machar is not happy with IGAD for failing to prevail upon Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to withdraw his forces.
Machar has insisted that the hostilities between his forces and those of his rival President Kiir will persist unless the Ugandan forces are withdrawn, political detainees released and a State of emergency lifted.
During last Friday’s meeting the EAC ministers also called on all humanitarian actors to provide all necessary assistance to all civilians and “urge the government of South Sudan and all armed groups to open humanitarian corridors and robustly ensure protection of civilian population.”
They appealed to both sides to engage in negotiations.
Already, there are reports that diplomats at the Foreign Affairs Ministry are advising the Kenyan government to remain neutral in the South Sudan peace talks, and push for the release of political detainees.
A document from the ministry makes it clear that Kenya must adopt a non-partisan stand in the conflict for it to be seen to be a credible mediator.