The Government of Kenya is dismayed by the recent comments published in the international media attributed to Mr. Adama Dieng, the United Nations Special Advisor for Prevention of Genocide, alleging the Kenya role in the prolonging of the conflict in South Sudan.
The allegations by the senior UN official insinuating Kenya’s complicity in trafficking large quantities of weapons and ammunition into South Sudan, are not only unfortunate and misguiding, but lack facts and came at a time when all IGAD Member States have embarked on rigorous process of revitalisation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) signed in August 2015.
The situation in South Sudan remains extremely complex and such unhelpful statements must be avoided at this critical time in pursuit of a credible and all-inclusive peace process. Kenya and neighbouring countries who are the sponsors of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) have had their patience tested to the limit but have continued to soldier on without showing any signs of fatigue.
Guided by its principles of peaceful co-existence with its neighbours and other nations, and the resolution of conflicts/disputes by peaceful means, Kenya’s record is clear with regards to efforts in search for peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.
Following the outbreak of the conflict in South Sudan on December 15, 2013, and the ensuing political and security crisis, the Government of Kenya, was instrumental in the establishment of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) initiative to contain the situation and persuade the Parties to settle their differences peacefully.
Kenya has relentlessly engaged the political leadership in South Sudan besides asking the two main warring factions of SPLM in Government and SPLM/A-IO to end hostilities, enforce the ceasefire, and resume the implementation of the peace process. These efforts paid off with the de-escalation of violent hostilities, intermittent ceasefires and tranquillity within the Capital Juba and other areas in the country, offering an opportunity for political dialogue among the Parties.
Kenya Government continues to monitor the situation and this week advised its nationals living or travelling to South Sudan to avoid travelling to areas where armed conflicts and inter-ethnic violence have occurred within the last six months. The travel advisory applies specifically to parts of the Greater Upper Nile Region. They should avoid unnecessary travels in these regions because the security situation is risky and their security cannot be guaranteed.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state as follows:-
a) Kenya remains committed to peaceful resolution of the South Sudan conflict and will continue to play its rightful mediation role bilaterally and within the framework of IGAD. Kenya as a guarantor of the Peace Agreement (ARCSS) and a member of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) continues to encourage and support the South Sudanese signatory parties to implement the peace agreement in good faith.
b) Kenya remains impartial with regards to the South Sudanese Parties, including the political parties as well as the various armed and non-armed opposition groups, as it rallies the regional governments and the international community to sustain pressure on the Parties to recommit to the peace process.
c) In fulfilling its international obligations, the Government of Kenya does not condone the conduct of any hostile activities against any neighbouring/foreign country or foreign Government within its territory. Any individuals or groups, including spoilers of the peace process, whether Kenyan or foreign, are investigated and taken through the due process.
d) Kenya’s relations with South Sudan and her role in the Peace Process are of utmost interest to the mutual well-being of the peoples of the two countries, and to the regional peace, security and economic prosperity.
e) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to reiterate and reaffirm Kenya’s longstanding commitment in search for stability and lasting peace in the Republic of South Sudan as a precondition for economic, social and political prosperity.
AMB MONICA JUMA, CABINET SECRETARY MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS & INTERNATIONAL TRADE