World
Kerry in Africa amid fears over S. Sudan war
Publish Date: Apr 30, 2014
Kerry in Africa amid fears over S. Sudan war
For US Secretary of State John Kerry, it will be his first major tour of Africa. CREDIT/AFP
  • mail
  • img
newvision

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry left late Tuesday on his first major tour of Africa focused on some of the continent's most brutal wars including the bloodshed in South Sudan.

The trip, which will take in Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, will seek to "encourage democratic development, promote respect for human rights, advance peace and security," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has said.

Kerry, who is due to return to Washington on May 5, will also "engage with civil society and young African leaders, who will shape the continent's future, and promote trade, investment and development partnerships in Africa."

On his first stop in Addis Ababa, Kerry will meet with leaders from the African Union, including from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

Ethiopia has been hosting peace talks between South Sudan's government and rebels aimed at ending a bloody four-month civil war, which has left thousands of people dead and over a million displaced.

The talks resumed again on Monday after long delays but have made little progress.

Kerry is expected to try to press the negotiators to end the fighting amid global outrage over a wave of atrocities in the world's newest nation, which the US helped give birth to.

Last week the UN Security Council brandished the threat of sanctions against South Sudan government forces, loyal to President Salva Kiir, and rebels behind former vice president Riek Machar.

"We will be delivering tough messages to both sides to indicate... that they will be held accountable if they don't take the necessary actions to end the hostilities," a senior State Department official said.

The official confirmed that Washington was still deciding who should be targeted for sanctions.

"We're working on a list. So that process is moving forward."


UN Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng (L) speaking, along UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, with rebel backed former South Sudanese vice president Riek Machar (R) in an undisclosed location in South Sudan on Tuesday. CREDIT/AFP (Source: UNMISS)

Horrific war

Washington would have sought to prevent the conflict which erupted in December if it had been possible, the official said.

"It is clear that Riek Machar and Salva Kiir do not have their countries' best good in their hearts," the diplomat said, asking not to be named.

"I see them fighting a personal battle that has led to the deaths of many people. This is not a battle against -- Nuer against Dinka. It is a Riek Machar-Salva Kiir battle, and they have used ethnic tensions and their own ethnicity to foment what has been a horrific war in this country."

Kerry is expected to arrive in Kinshasa on Saturday to meet President Joseph Kabila for talks on demobilizing rebel groups and pushing democracy ahead of elections planned for next year.

He will be accompanied by US special envoy to the Great Lakes region Russ Feingold, who has taken a leading role in brokering a peace deal with M23 rebels in hostilities which date back to 1994.

The DRC government has gained more control in the conflict-hit eastern areas since a national army offensive, backed by a special UN brigade, forced the powerful M23 rebels to lay down its arms in November.

"It was hard getting all of them to the negotiating table and getting an agreement for M23 to lay down their arms," the official said.

And even though there are no plans to visit Rwanda, the official stressed "we could not have gotten that without the cooperation of the Ugandans and the Rwandans."

Ties have strained with Kigali over the past two years, due to the Rwandan government's alleged support for the M23 rebels in DR Congo.

"We're looking at, with M23, the next steps in amnesty... to hold those accountable and to look at reintegration of others back into the country."

On his final stop in the oil-rich country of Angola, Kerry will meet with long-time leader President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

"The Angolans have been playing an extraordinarily positive role on a number of regional issues, particularly as they relate to DRC but also most recently in Central African Republic," the State Department official said.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Drugmakers to join forces to make millions of Ebola vaccine doses
Leading drugmakers plan to work together to speed up the development of an Ebola vaccine and hope to produce millions of doses for use next year....
Rwanda imposes Ebola checks on US travellers
RWANDA has boosted travel restrictions to stem the spread of the Ebola virus, ordering travellers who have been in the United States and Spain to send daily updates...
Bashir to run for re-election
SUDANESE President Omar al-Bashir - in power since a 1989 coup - will stand for re-election in 2015 after being retained Tuesday as leader of the ruling National Congress Party...
Paralysed man walks again after breakthrough treatment
A paralysed man can walk again after receiving revolutionary treatment which one of the British scientists responsible hailed as a breakthrough "more impressive than a man walking on the Moon" - although others urged caution....
Pistorius to learn sentence for killing girlfriend
SOUTH African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius today learns his sentence for shooting dead his girlfriend on Valentine's Day last year...
Warring S.Sudan leaders accept
SOUTH Sudan President Salva Kiir and his arch-rival rebel chief Riek Machar have accepted mutual responsibility for a 10-month civil war...
Was Oscar Pistorius' 5 year sentence fair and just?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter