August 31, 2016 (JUBA) – Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, has \r\nchallenged his South Sudanese counterpart, President Salva Kiir, to \r\nimplement the shaky August 2015 peace agreement which he signed with his\r\n former peace partner, Riek Machar, describing it as a "key ingredient \r\nfor prosperity.¡±
Speaking in Juba on Tuesday - during a one-day \r\nofficial visit in which he held a closed door meeting with President \r\nKiir - President Uhuru also said Kenya will help South Sudan to restore \r\nlaw and order.
"Stability and peace are the key ingredients for \r\nthe prosperity that we wish for the people of South Sudan," said \r\nPresident Uhuru Kenyatta, speaking to reporters flanked by President \r\nKiir in Juba.
Uhuru is the first head of state to visit Juba since\r\n fighting erupted between forces loyal to President Kiir and his former \r\ndeputy, Riek Machar. Machar, the opposition leader of an armed group, \r\nthe SPLM-IO, returned to Juba in April and became First Vice President \r\nin accordance with the peace agreement signed one year ago.
Machar\r\n was however forced to flee for his life when his bodyguards clashed in \r\nthe capital with forces loyal to President Kiir. The President then \r\nappointed Taban Deng Gai to replace Machar, a move the SPLM-IO \r\nsupporters condemned as illegal. There are also concerns that the peace \r\nimplementation process will be compromised by Machar¡¯s absence.
President\r\n Uhuru said there is no option outside implementing the accord which was\r\n mediated by member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on \r\nDevelopment (IGAD). The Kenyan leader also reminded that South Sudanese\r\n fought for decades for a peaceful country.
"I believe that is why\r\n they [South Sudanese] struggled so hard to achieve their independence —\r\n not for war, but for them to be able to prosper,¡± he said.
"We \r\nare here to give encouragement and support; we are here to say and to \r\nask the government to push along the peace agreement and the reforms \r\nthat were agreed to under that peace agreement,¡± President Kenyatta \r\nadded.
President Kiir on his part said his government and new \r\npeace partner, Gai, will implement the peace agreement. He said there \r\n"is no fighting in Juba¡± contrary to perception by the international \r\ncommunity. He blamed the media for reporting "unfounded¡± news.
"President\r\n Uhuru came to Juba as the first Head of State after our crisis,¡± said \r\nKiir, referring to the fighting on 8 July in the State House, also known\r\n as J1, as he was meeting Machar.
"[President Uhuru¡¯s visit] shows\r\n that the regional leadership is with us, and they are very concerned \r\nabout the situation of South Sudan,¡± he added.
Kenya will \r\ncontribute troops to 4,000 soldiers that will be drawn from the region \r\nas authorized by the United Nations Security Council. The foreign troops\r\n will provide protection for civilians and vulnerable leadership in the \r\ncapital.