South Sudan Tops Agenda for AU Heads of State Summit in Kigali, Body Says Waring Factions Must abide by Ceasefire Order


South Sudan is the lead impromptu item for discussion on the Agenda as African leaders meet for a summit in Kigali, slated for July 17, 2016.

The Heads of State meeting will conclude the 27 African Union Summit which started on July 10, 2016 in Rwanda’s Capital Kigali.

The continental body will be under pressure to find a quick solution to the escalating tensions in Africa’s youngest nation, East African newspaper reported.

The summit’s host, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo told reporters that the crisis is “weighing heavily” on the minds of African leaders.

Minister Mushikiwabo told CNBC Africa that Rwanda President Paul Kagame over the weekend talked to his counterparts in the East African region to discuss on how the tensions in the blocs youngest member can be quelled.

Regional leaders discussed on how the ongoing power struggle in South Sudan can be resolved and how the two factions can be reined in to end the hostilities which have reportedly claimed over 270 people.

“It is not a small matter, it is about trying to put aside the entrenched political differences but especially to also to try and put their eyes on the people of South Sudan. They have been waiting for a free and prosperous country for decades,”

“A lot of blood has been spilt. The leaders in this region are extremely concerned. It is actually timely that all of them will be coming here to Kigali later in the week. I have no doubt that they will have serious discussions about South Sudan,” Minister Mushikiwabo said.

African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Ambassador Smail Chergui, said the top leadership in South Sudan must take responsibility for the welfare of their people and give the Transitional government of National Unity unity a chance to implement the peace deal.

“We are calling upon everybody, especially the leaders of South Sudan to act with restraint so that we go back to the starting point and allow the transition government to deal with this issue quietly, bearing in mind the lives of the people,” Chergui said.

He said AU only considers sending troops to the war torn nation as demanded by the United nations security council as a last resort to quell the wide scale violence. However, the issue he said is up for consideration.

“The peace and security council is considering sending troops if need be, and you know that under Article IV of the assembly, we can do so. I think you will see the outcome of this meeting, but the determination is there to act on the situation, including sending a force,” he said

In a closed door emergency AU meeting in Kigali, delegates discussed the possibility of sending a neutral armed force to separate both groups of fighters, protect the unarmed civilians and enforce the peace agreement signed in August last year.

East African newspaper reported that there is still uncertainty whether President Kiir and his rival Deputy Riek Machar will come to Kigali as earlier expected. The two are highly expected to stay home to avoid a possible power grab.