Desalegn: Ethiopia won’t accommodate Machar, to form Joint force with South Sudan against Rebels

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On the occasion of his first visit to South Sudan since fighting broke out, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn took a jibe on his known ally and exiled opposition leader Riek Machar.

Desalegn whose country midwifed the signing of the now tattered peace agreement said Addis Ababa will not entertain Machar crossing over again.

When fighting broke out in December 2013, Addis was safe haven for Machar and most external and diplomatic planning for the rebel group was reportedly conceived and executed there.

But now, Desalegn promises to cooperate with President Salva Kiir and form a joint military force to rid their common border of ‘rebel elements’.

“Both of us will not allow any armed movement to disrupt peace in our region,” he vowed.

He reiterated Ethiopia’s commitment to supporting the implementation of the South Sudan peace agreement.

Ethiopia is among the regional countries to contribute troops to be deployed to South Sudan by the United Nations.

Kiir lauded Desalegn for his support to the Juba administration.

He said Juba was ready to cooperate with Ethiopia in all aspects, pointing out that the roads connecting the two countries would be open for easy exchange of goods and services.

“The road will be open so that Ethiopian goods come here by land,” he said, adding that South Sudan would supply the neighbouring state with oil.

“Instead of going to far places to buy oil, Ethiopia will get it from South Sudan, especially now that we are going to build our refinery,” President Kiir said.

The two leaders signed multiple agreements on trade, investment and infrastructure developments.