President Kenyatta makes "solidarity" visit to Juba

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[Nairobi, Kenya, TCT] President Salva Kiir yesterday hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, in a meeting that centred around the implementation of the South Sudan peace agreement.

[Nairobi, Kenya, TCT] President Salva Kiir yesterday hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, in a meeting that centred around the implementation of the South Sudan peace agreement.

President Salva Kiir meets President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya in JubaPresident Kenyatta is IGAD’s patron for South Sudan peace process. IGAD is a grouping of eight Eastern Africa nations that focuses on development and drought control in the region. It shepherded the peace agreement that was signed last year between Kiir and Machar.

A news item on Kenya’s NTV said the President was in Juba to offer support to the peace process. President Kenyatta urged President Kiir to implement reforms agreed on in the peace agreement signed last year between Kiir and former vice president Dr. Riek Machar.

President Kenyatta said he was in South Sudan to show solidarity with the people of South Sudan, to encourage them and to ensure that there is peace and stability in the country.

"We are here to say to ask the governmnent to push along the peace agreement and the reforms that were agreed to under the peace agreement and to see how that can be first-tracked," said Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta was welcomed at the airport by newly appointed first vice president Taban Deng Gai on behalf of President Kiir.
In his speech, President Kiir said the Kenyan leader’s visit shows that the regional leadership has not forsaken South Sudan. He said that contrary to the perception out there, Juba was calm and that the government was running smoothly.

"There is no fight in South Sudan, there is no war, people are very peaceful in Juba, and so although what people say, is not the situation on the ground," Kiir said.

The visit by President Kenyatta comes soon after the recent visit to the region by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who urged the parties to the conflict to implement the agreements reached last year.

During Kerry’s visit, the US announced humanitarian assistance to the South Sudanese people to the tune of nearly $138 million.

In response to a question by a journalist, Kerry appeared to defend Dr. Machar’s replacement with Taban Deng Gai, whom President Kiir recently appointed as first vice president.

Kerry justified this by saying that under the agreement signed last year, there was allowance for the replacement in a transition of personnel, and that had been effected when Dr. Machar fled from Juba following renewed hostilities in July.

Like the US, IGAD seems to have accepted the appointment of Taban Deng as the vice president, a position that is disputed by some in the opposition. Last week, IGAD said that it was up to the South Sudanese government to decide whether Dr. Machar should be reinstated in the government when he comes back.

Dr. Machar arrived in Sudan from Democratic Republic of Congo last week. He fled to DRC after fresh fighting erupted in Juba in July.

Yesterday, President Kenyatta was accompanied by three ministers from his cabinet, Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs), Charles Keter (Energy) and Mwangi Kiunjuri (Devolution).

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