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Ethiopia, Kenya to send troops South Sudan stabilisation mission

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Ethiopia and Kenya have resolved to deploy troops to a proposed stabilisation mission to enforce a ceasefire deal signed by warring South Sudanese parties.

Visiting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and host Hailemariam Desalegn announced Wednesday that both states would contribute troops as part of efforts to help ease the crisis.

“We are working to deploy regional troops to South Sudan,” the two leaders announced after holding bilateral talks ahead of a crisis Summit on South Sudan here Thursday.

President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Hailemariam insisted the South Sudanese parties must recommit themselves to peaceful end to the conflict in their country.

“The two leaders considered the situation in South Sudan and expressed concern over deteriorating security in Africa’s youngest nation,” President Kenyatta’s office said in a statement.

Kenyan officials have already announced plans to seek a parliamentary approval for additional troops to serve in the UN Mission for South Sudan (UNMISS), which was expanded by an additional 5,500 troops following a UN Security Council approval to deal with the escalating humanitarian situation in South Sudan.

Kenya plans to deploy additional 310 troops to UNMISS, in addition to sending troops to the proposed stabilisation mission.

South Sudanese parties, whose representatives have been engaged in peace talks to end a crisis which broke out on 15 Dec. 2013, are still divided on a number of issues.

The two East African leaders said they would continue to engage the South Sudanese sides through the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to resolve the crisis.

IGAD leaders are already in Addis Ababa to discuss the crisis in South Sudan. Among the issues on the table is the proposal to form a transitional government for South Sudan.

There are deep divisions on both sides on the structure and the leadership of the proposed transitional authority, with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir insisting only the South Sudanese voters should make such a choice and not the international community.

The IGAD will also review the progress in the implementation of previous pacts reached by South Sudan’s warring rivals, key among them the cessation of hostilities agreement signed during the first round of talks in Addis Ababa in January.

A second round of talks wrapped up a few days ago after both sides agreed to a 20-day recess.

Pana 13/03/2014