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Kenya, South Sudan Hold Talks on Easing Sudan’s Conflict

August 20, 2023 – President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and the Kenyan President held discussions aimed at exploring strategies to achieve a lasting resolution to the ongoing conflict in Sudan.

The meeting between the two leaders occurred in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, on Saturday.

Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin of South Sudan’s Presidential Affairs, Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia Lomuro, Transport Minister Madut Biar Yel, and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Deng Dau Malek accompanied President Kiir on a one-day trip.

Minister Marial informed reporters at Juba International Airport on Saturday that Sudan was a central issue requiring in-depth discussion. Given its regional implications, it demanded the attention of leaders at a strategic level within the region.

“Discussions about the matter of Sudan can’t be taken lightly. Lives are at stake due to the ongoing conflict, and the region bears a moral obligation to respond swiftly. This is why President Salva and President William Ruto of Kenya allocated time to discuss this matter,” Minister Benjamin elaborated.

The primary focus of the conversation revolved around de-escalating the conflict. The situation has progressed beyond being solely a humanitarian crisis to now encompassing broader regional dynamics,” he emphasized.

The foreign minister reported that President Kiir provided President William Ruto with an update on South Sudan’s participation in a ministerial meeting of Sudan’s neighbouring countries held in N’djamena earlier this month.

“The region is deeply concerned, and in the forthcoming days, IGAD and African Union heads of state and government, in conjunction with the United Nations and Sudan’s allies, will convene to chart the way forward,” Malek further stated without providing specific details.

South Sudan is part of a quartet group alongside Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti. This quartet, representing the IGAd bloc, advocates for a direct meeting between opposing leaders to help ease tension and de-escalate the conflict in Sudan.

Kenya leads the IGAD quartet, and its president proposed the deployment of a force to establish separate zones for the conflicting parties.

The Sudanese military leadership, accusing Ruto of bias, rejected this proposal. The RSF has not issued a statement either accepting or rejecting the proposal, and the region has not yet determined a course of action after presenting the proposal.

Neither Presidents Kiir nor Ruto commented on the proposal, leaving it uncertain whether the proposal continues to influence diplomatic negotiations behind closed doors.

Source : Sudan Tribune