President Uhuru Kenyatta Saturday met UN Secretary-General António Guterres and discussed peace initiatives in South Sudan and Somalia.
Meeting in Addis Ababa ahead of the 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly, President Kenyatta and Mr Guterres reviewed progress in efforts to bring sustainable peace to South Sudan and Somalia.
Mr Guterres acknowledged the South Sudan peace initiatives spearheaded by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and encouraged member states including Kenya not to give up their efforts.
Mr Guterres particularly wanted President Kenyatta to return to the forefront of the continent’s efforts to secure a lasting solution in Kenya’s northern neighbor.
The UN Secretary-General also called on all the parties involved in the conflict to work together in the search for a lasting solution.
President Kenyatta affirmed Kenya’s commitment to helping move forward the South Sudan peace process.
The President assured Mr Guterres that the African Union Summit provides an opportunity for IGAD leaders to meet and discussed ways of rejuvenating the peace process.
“In essence, it is about Kenya working with the region, and partners like the United Nations, to secure peace in South Sudan. It is a subject that concerns us, as much as it does the United Nations,” President Kenyatta said.
In regard to Somalia, President Kenyatta pressed the Secretary-General for continued support for AMISOM, the African Union mission in Somalia – which the region sees as the main stabilizing factor in the Horn of African nation.
“Stability in Somalia is key for the region and everything we can do to ensure the progress so far achieved is sustained, we should do,” the President said.
Kenya is seen globally as a key player in any efforts to secure peace in South Sudan and Somalia. Leaders in the region believe that Kenya can play a more pivotal role in peace initiatives after taking a lower profile in the last year when it was preoccupied with general elections.
President Kenyatta arrived in Addis Ababa Friday evening.
The President arrived in Ethiopia after announcing a major shake-up of his administration, as he nears completion of assembling the team to help him deliver on his second term agenda.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, who will be attending the Organization of African First Ladies Against Aids (OAFLA) General Assembly on the sidelines of the AU Assembly, is accompanying the President.
Kenya has been at the forefront in promoting peace and security both at the regional and continental arena. Consequently, President Kenyatta will be among the leaders who will deliberate on the state of peace and security in the continent at the AU’s Peace and Security Council meeting. Kenya is slated to chair the Peace and Security Council in February.
Apart from governance, issues of conflict resolution across Africa will also be discussed including the situation in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Libya.
Current AU President Alpha Conde of Guinea is also expected to hand over the mantle to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame – in what is a yearly rotation of the presidency.