The top diplomat met with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and foreign ministers from the regional bloc, IGAD in an effort to boost moves towards ending a long stint of violence. Kerry said its time South Sudanese leaders stand up to their responsibilities and restore peace to the troubled country.
The leaders of South Sudan have to live up to their responsibilities.
“The leaders of South Sudan have to live up to their responsibilities,” he said, speaking after the meeting. “They have to put the interests of their citizens first, and they have to refrain from violent and provocative acts. The time has come to replace confrontation and impunity with reconciliation and accountability.”
A regionally backed South Sudan peace deal signed in August 2015 is hanging in the balance following last month’s fighting between the leadership of the two parties who inked the deal, the SPLM and the SPLM/A-IO.
A regional protection force of 4,000 troops announced by the U.N. Security Council to be deployed in South Sudan as effort to bolster security arrangements in the capital, Juba is yet to arrive.
Kerry called for regional support towards the deployment of the force, telling the regional leaders that “help is urgently needed in order to save lives, and that is why President Obama asked me to come here today to be here in order to help work with our friends to respond to this emergency, this crisis”.
He said the force’s mandate is to be able to protect people and to guarantee their freedom of movement, and their ability to remain free from attack or ambush from any source whatsoever. “It is supplementary to the sovereignty and the efforts of South Sudan itself,” Kerry said.
Mohamed Amina, Kenya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that besides Somalia, South Sudan was top on the agenda in the two important meetings between Kerry and Kenyatta.
Describing discussions on the South Sudan case as “complex”, Amina said the meetings had agreed that implementing the peace agreement in letter and spirit is the only solution for South Sudan.
Kerry pledged an additional US$138 million in humanitarian aid for food, water and medicine for those in need across South Sudan. The U.S. contribution to South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis now totals to US$1.6 billion, Kerry said.
We’re not just going to provide help incessantly if they’re not willing to accept responsibility.
He however warns the donation may be withheld if South Sudan’s leaders continue to fail to address the challenges. “We made it crystal clear that this is not forever. We’re not just going to fill in a void. We’re not just going to provide help incessantly if they’re not willing to accept responsibility and do the things necessary to deliver to their people,” Kerry said.
Kerry also underscored the need for more regional efforts to combat terrorism in East Africa through joint efforts on tackling al-Shabab militants in Somalia and understanding Kenya’s preparatory plans for the next national elections.