Kenyan President Kenyatta has appealed to the leadership of South Sudan to consolidate the peace dividend to accelerate the country’s social and economic growth.
Kenyatta’s comments come at a time of relative peace following a destructive civil war that nearly brought the South Sudan’s economy to its knees.
With the 8th Anniversary of the independence of South Sudan just days away, President Kenyatta said the moment has come for the patriotic men and women of Africa’s youngest nation to secure their place in national, regional, continental and global arena.
“The leadership of South Sudan, across the entire spectrum, have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to forge for lasting peace that provides the internal stability and enabling environment for your country’s take-off, both economically and socially,” President Kenyatta told visiting President Salva Kiir.
He urged the South Sudan leadership to defy the naysayers and prophets of doom by putting aside their differences and delivering unity, peace and security to their nation.
“South Sudan, in this moment, can crystallize the optimism and hope that all nations of the world had for it when your nation gained independence on 9th July 2011,” the Kenyan leader said.
President Kenyatta spoke last evening when he and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta hosted President Salva Kiir and his delegation to a state banquet that was also attended by Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga at State House, Nairobi.
President Kiir has in recent years worked with regional leaders to restore and stability in his country with the view of facilitating trade and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
President Kenyatta expressed satisfaction that South Sudan has prioritized the search for a sustainable political solution to the conflicts that have plagued Kenya’s northern neighbor for a long time.
“Eminent African and global leaders have pledged their support for South Sudan’s quest for sustained peace, including His Holiness Pope Francis; an indicator of the deep continental and global desire to see a united, peaceful and prosperous South Sudan,” the President said.
“We are fortunate that the South Sudan of today has bold and dynamic sons and daughters, such as Your Excellency, who have requisite vision and stature that allows them to bring together all sections of South Sudanese society into the common fold,” President Kenyatta told President Kiir.
President Kenyatta said Kenya, on its part, is ever ready and always at hand to play whatever role is required to create an all-inclusive transitional mechanisms and institutions that will bring South Sudan’s people together and provide for the full realization of that nation’s democracy.
He said Kenya will continue to provide technical and diplomatic support to facilitate the implementation of the peace process including deployment of military ceasefire monitors as well as technical advisors to various transitional and implementation mechanisms.
“Kenya is cognizant of the fact that the political, security, economic and humanitarian situation in South Sudan will largely be determined by the success in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS); which was signed by the Parties on 12th September 2018,” President Kenyatta said.
He said commitment to the agreement will allow South Sudan to shed off the yoke of needless conflict and internal disunity that has limited the Horn of Africa country’s achievement of its full potential.
“I, therefore, urge all parties to the process to exercise tolerance and political goodwill, so as to move the country forward,” President Kenyatta said.
With peace, cohesion and security in place, President Kenyatta said South Sudan will be able to take advantage of the immense opportunities available on the African continent.
“One of these is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) which has opened enormous trade and investment opportunities among African countries. Another is the East African Community, which South Sudan is the youngest member,” the Kenyan leader said.
President Kiir thanked President Kenyatta for inviting him for the State Visit saying it has strengthened the bond of friendship between Kenya and South Sudan.
“I want to assure that South Sudanese and the great people of Kenya are one people. We share common borders and we are good neighbours,” President Kiir said.
He assured that South Sudan will never abandon its brothers and sisters in Kenya and underscored the key role that Kenya played in South Sudan’s journey to independence.