, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – President Uhuru Kenyatta jetted back into the country Monday night from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he attended a multilateral summit on the South Sudan peace process, and regional counterterrorism measures.
The summit was convened by US President Barack Obama – who arrived in the Ethiopian capital on Sunday evening after a landmark visit to Kenya.
During the Addis summit, US President Barack Obama commended the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union for their steadfast push for a lasting solution to the South Sudan conflict.
The US President said IGAD and AU have shown extraordinary leadership in trying to address the devastating situation in South Sudan.
“I want to thank IGAD for the outstanding work they’re doing, the African Union for their leadership as well. And as a consequence of this discussion, our hope is that we can actually bring about the kind of peace that the people of South Sudan so desperately need,” he said.
The meeting was attended by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, President Kenyatta (Kenya), President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and AU Commission Chairperson Dlamini Zuma.
President Kenyatta affirmed Kenya’s commitment to a speedy resolution of the South Sudan conflict even as he expressed concern that it had dragged for longer than expected.
He said IGAD member states have been at the forefront in efforts to end the South Sudan conflict and have engaged the warring parties in talks both in Nairobi and Addis Ababa.
The Addis Ababa meeting exuded optimism that the South Sudan warring parties will strike a peace deal that will end the suffering of the citizens of Africa’s youngest nation by August 17.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar did not attend the meeting, the latest move aimed at consolidating efforts to end the 19-month conflict in Africa’s youngest nation.
The plane carrying President Kenyatta and his delegation touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly before 9pm.
The direct involvement of President Obama in the South Sudan peace process signals a growing impetus to end violence that has devastated the Horn of Africa nation.
The Addis Ababa meeting also discussed measures to scale up the fight against terrorism in the region.