President Uhuru Kenyatta has welcomed the signing of an agreement by arch-foes in the South Sudan conflict, and promised Kenya’s support in restoring peace in Africa’s youngest nation.
“Today, I offer you the promise of the Kenyan people. As we have done, we shall continue to walk with you from this moment of great expectation to the full implementation of a revitalised agreement,” President Kenyatta said after the signing of the agreement in Khartoum, Sudan.
The agreement was signed on Sunday by President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar as well as all political parties in South Sudan.
The deal will see Dr Machar return to a unity government as the first of five vice presidents.
The agreement also outlines guidelines on power sharing and governance, including settling boundary disputes which will be guided by a boundary commission and provides for an avenue for the people of South Sudan to participate in a referendum if need be to settle those rows.
“No matter how much the world invests in South Sudan, it is incumbent on the people of South Sudan to find lasting peace for their country,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta appealed to the political leadership in South Sudan to secure the future of the region by commencing implementation of the agreement.
“Informed by our shared and common experiences and grounded in a long history of solidarity between Kenya and South Sudan, I urge each and every leader to leverage the diversity of South Sudan and harness it to build strong and responsible structures that respond effectively to the needs of the people,” President Kenyatta said.
Besides President Kenyatta, the signing of the agreement was also witnessed by Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, and Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti.
The next round of negotiations will continue in Nairobi, and not in Khartoum, Sudan authorities told reporters.
South Sudan’s conflict, which has seen tens of thousands killed, and millions displaced, began after President Kiir accused his then-vice president Machar of plotting a coup against him in 2013, just two years after it was declared independent.
The power-sharing deal stipulates that there will be 35 ministers in the bloated transitional government, including 20 Kiir allies and nine backers of Machar along with representatives of other rebel factions.
The rival groups have already agreed on a permanent ceasefire and withdrawing of their forces from civilian areas.