East African leaders in South Sudan to push for peace

A Sudanese boy holds a bunch of southern Sudan flags picked up from the ground after a political rally in Juba/AFP[/caption]
A Sudanese boy holds a bunch of southern Sudan flags picked up from the ground after a political rally in Juba/AFP

, ETHIOPIA, October 22- East African leaders met South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Wednesday in the latest push to end over 10 months of a civil war that has devastated the young nation.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda arrived in the war torn nation’s capital on a one-day visit to discuss the “on-going peace process”, a spokesman in Kiir’s office told AFP.

All are members of regional east Africa’s IGAD bloc which has mediated currently stalled talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are hosting 467,000 South Sudanese refugees who have fled the war. Uganda has also sent in troops to back Kiir’s forces.

Thousands of people have been killed and almost two million have fled fighting between government troops, mutinous soldiers and ragtag militia forces divided along tribal lines.

On Monday, Kiir and his arch rival, rebel chief and former vice-president Riek Machar, said they accepted mutual responsibility for the war. It was their first meeting since signing a ceasefire accord in August. They agreed to reunite the divided ruling party.

The August ceasefire, like three previous agreements, swiftly collapsed.

Political and military leaders have repeatedly broken promises made under intense international pressure, including during visits to South Sudan by UN chief Ban Ki moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Earlier this month, a group of 19 major aid agencies warned that while massive food drops had helped avert famine for now, the threat remained, and the risk grew greater the longer the war continues.

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE :Agence France-Presse is a global news agency delivering fast, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from wars and conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology.