Kerry in Nairobi to discuss South Sudan conflict

US Secretary of State John Kerry says deployment of UN protection force is vital to end bloodshed in South Sudan.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US Secretary of State John Kerry flanked by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed attends a meeting with foreign affairs ministers from Eastern Africa in Nairobi, August 22, 2016.

US State of Secretary John Kerry met East African foreign ministers on Monday in Nairobi to discuss measures to end month-long bloody conflict in South Sudan.

During the meeting with his counterparts from Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, Kerry pointed that the deployment of a 4,000-strong "protection force" to bolster the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan is vital to end the bloodshed.

"There is absolutely no question that we need to move forward with the deployment of the regional protection force authorised by the UN Security Council," Kerry said.

Kenyan Foreign Minister, Amina Mohamed also underlined the necessity of an urgent deployment.

"When should it be there? Sooner rather than later," Mohammed said.  

The fighting began between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former first vice-president Riek Machar on July 8, 2016, driving country into the civil war.

Last week, Machar fled the country after spending weeks hiding from the government forces.

The UN Security Council voted to send 4,000 regional peacekeepers to Juba to calm fresh tension as a part of UN mission in the country last week.

However President Salva Kiir opposed the move, saying that deploying without South Sudan's approval would be a violation of the country's sovereignty.

Kerry said the aim of the deployment is just to improve security in Juba and restore the peace deal that signed a year ago.

"This is not an intervention force, it is a protection force, with a very clear mandate to protect people, to ensure access, freedom of movement and to be free from ambush or attack of any sort," he said.

Earlier, Kerry also met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. The two focused on regional security and terrorism related issues of the continent.

His next visit will be to Nigeria where he will meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss cooperation on the fight against Boko Haram militants, Nigerian economy and human rights issues.

TRTWorld and agencies