JUBA – South Sudan President Salva Kiir has urged African leaders to support his proposal to cease hostilities between the warring parties in Ethiopia and to mediate a settlement to the ongoing conflict in the neighboring country.
In a statement issued through the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday, President Kiir urged African Union member states to come together and help end the conflict.
“The conflict in Ethiopia is a cause for concern to all of us as the leaders in the region and it requires all of us to come together and speak with one voice to brothers and friends in Ethiopia to cease hostilities, accept themselves, accept that Ethiopia is their country and to sit down around the table and dialogue,” he said.
The South Sudanese leader expressed his readiness to mediate in the conflict between the two warring parties and called for support from regional leaders.
“I know these people, those who are in the government and in the opposition. I speak to them as brothers from both sides. I tell them to look; war is not good. Have you not seen how it has destroyed our country? Have you not seen the destruction and the suffering which it has brought to our people? Was it not this impact which it brought was the reason you the Ethiopian leaders and other friends and leaders in the region decided to mediate the peace which I accepted even when there was no reason?” he stressed.
Kiir said he was approached by the two Ethiopian sides and regional leaders to mediate the settlement.
“I have been approached by these leaders, by both sides, by leaders in the region and by friends to the leaders in the conflict and I accepted this proposal and told them I am ready to do it,” he said.
Due to the border dispute with Sudan, Addis Ababa declined an offer by Prime Minister Hamdok who chairs also the IGAD to mediate a solution for the conflict in the Tigray region.
Following this, the IGAD leader proposed that President Kiir undertakes this mediation.
The South Sudanese leader agreed with the Ethiopian Prime Minister that the talks would start soon after he was sworn in as prime minister after his election.
“I was waiting to be called before the political crisis in Sudan started,” he said referring to the launch of the mediation.
On Tuesday, Ethiopia’s cabinet declared a nationwide state of emergency and authorities in Addis Ababa told citizens to prepare to defend the capital, as the TPLF fighters threatened to march to the city.
The Security Council is expected to hold a meeting on Ethiopia under the agenda item “Peace and Security in Africa”
A high-level UN representative and an AU representative are expected to brief the meeting which comes against the backdrop of an escalation of the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, which erupted on November 4, 2020.
The conflict has triggered a humanitarian crisis that has left hundreds of thousands of people facing famine-like conditions, according to the UN. Thousands of people have been killed and more than 2.5 million people forced to flee their homes.
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