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President Uhuru Kenyatta helps broker South Sudan peace deal

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta returned back on Saturday from Ethiopia where he helped broker a ceasefire deal following intensive discussions aimed at restoring normalcy in South Sudan.

Kenya’s State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said after Kenyatta’s arrival in Nairobi that the East African leaders have resolved to slap sanctions on peace saboteurs.

"Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leaders agreed on a range of sanctions to kick in if any of the parties violates the latest agreement. These decisions have the full support of the African Union and the U.N. Security Council, but remain firmly IGAD initiatives," Esipisu said in a statement.

The sanctions will include freeze of assets owned by the violators, travel bans and blocking supply of materials that could be used in war.

The talks in Addis Ababa which kicked off on Thursday running through Friday into the wee hours of Saturday resulted in resolutions that signaled an end to the South Sudan conflict.

The South Sudan government led by President Salva and the SPLM/ A (In-Opposition) under former Vice President Riek Machar also agreed to immediately stop recruitment and mobilization of civilians.

During the talks, Kenyatta had appealed for a speedy resolution to the South Sudan conflict.

"This conflict has to come to an end.

"We need to focus our attention and resources on development for the benefit of the people of the region, but not endless conflicts," Kenyatta said, adding that the stability of the Africa’s youngest nation was not only important to the people of South Sudan, but was also crucial to regional peace.

A communiqué issued after the talks attended by President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud warned South Sudan warring parties that any violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement would invite stern interventions to protect life and restore peace and stability.

"President Kenyatta is delighted to be back.

"He participated in three days of intense discussions on South Sudan’s future and feels that genuine progress has been made," said Esipisu.

"For the first time, all sides have committed to a cessation of hostilities. Guns will fall silent.

"The sides also committed to the opening up of humanitarian corridors," Esipisu added.

South Sudan plunged into violence in December 2013, when fighting erupted between troops loyal to president Kiir and defectors led by Machar around the capital Juba.

The clashes have left thousands of South Sudanese dead and forced around 1.8 million people to flee homes in the world’s youngest nation.


Regional African leaders holding summit on South Sudan conflict




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