By Andrew Ombuni
South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has committed to fully support the IGAD-led efforts to return his country to long lasting peace and stability.
This is according to a press release sent to newsrooms by the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Foreign Affairs Ministry Ababu Namwamba.
President Kiir declared this in a meeting held at his offices in Juba with a delegation of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers shuttle diplomacy talks whose main aim is to find lasting peace and stability in the country.
The IGAD delegation is led by Ababu Namwamba and Ethiopian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hirut Zemene.
Ethiopia chairs the IGAD Council of Ministers while Kenya is the Rapporteur.
Mr Namwamba said the IGAD delegation also held day-long talks with the South Sudan cabinet team representing the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) led by chief government negotiator Nhial Deng Nhial and acting Foreign Affairs Minister Martin Lomoru before meeting President Kiir.
“The talks focused on bridging the gap between government and opposition on core parameters in the peace process- key among them being silencing the guns and stopping all killings,” said Namwamba.
He added “Facilitating unimpeded humanitarian assistance to all affected peoples and forming an all-inclusive governance structure for South Sudan,”
Namwamba said two weeks ago they held discussions with opposition groups in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia, adding they are also in support of the process of restoring peace in the war-torn country.
He revealed that the delegation will meet and hold peace talks with Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO)-leader Dr Riek Machar in Pretoria, South Africa before hosting the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) set for Addis Ababa on May 17 to discuss the security situation of South Sudan.
He also reminded the government side that they bore the greatest responsibility in the task of securing lasting peace, security and stability in South Sudan.
“The government must move firmly to wipe out the trust deficit between them and the rebel leader by taking measures to bring them closer and re-build confidence among the warrying parties,” Namwamba said.
Later, the Foreign Affairs CAS later held one-on-one bilateral talks with President Salva Kiir on strengthening ties between Kenya and South Sudan.