20 June 2018

Kenyatta Heads to IGAD Meeting as Leaders Review South Sudan Peace Process

Photo: J. Patinkin/VOA
President Salva Kiir (R) and Riek Machar (L). (file photo).

Nairobi — President Uhuru Kenyatta is Thursday set to depart for Addis Ababa to attend a regional meeting on ongoing efforts to restore peace in South Sudan.

Deputy State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena told reporters Wednesday that the meeting to be attended by leaders from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will review the progress made in the South Sudan peace process.

"The leaders want to review the strategies that IGAD has put in place to ensure the return of peace in the nation," she said while emphasising President Kenyatta's commitment to peace in South Sudan.

Kenya has been at the forefront in efforts aimed at restoring peace in Juba since the breakout of civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir feel out with his then deputy, Riek Machar in just under two years since the nation's independence in 2011.

The top IGAD leaders will be meeting at a time when the United States has pilled pressure on the region asking respective governments to crack down on South Sudan elite investing ill-acquired wealth in the region.

"I wanna be very clear, those who profit from human rights violations and corruption, preying on the poor and innocent and mothers and children, must heed our warning," Sigal Mandelker, the US Treasury's under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence told a press conference in Nairobi on Wednesday last week.

"We will impose consequences, we will cut off your access to the US financial system and we will work with our partners in this region and elsewhere to do the same," Mandelker had issued a similar message in Uganda stated.

In her inaugural media briefing since taking up the job as Deputy Press Secretary for the Presidency, Dena also announced an upcoming visit by a delegation of American businesspersons led by the Under Secretary for International Trade Gil Kaplan.

According to Dena, Kaplan and the delegation will arrive in the country next week.

She said visit will deepen investment in the country with leaders of top US companies expected to explore investment opportunities, especially in areas around the Big Four development agenda.

Business executives expected to accompany Kaplan include those from Bechtel, Visa, IBM, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Acrow Bridge, Amethyst, Citi, and GE.

"The main aim is to strengthen economic partnership and exploring avenues through which they can invest in our economy," Dena told the news conference.

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