South Sudanese leader offers to mediate Ethiopian conflict
Salva Kiir’s offer to mediate between Ethiopia and Tigray rebels was accepted, say South Sudanese officials
The president of South Sudan has offered to mediate the ongoing conflict between the government in neighboring Ethiopia and Tigray rebels in the country’s north, a South Sudanese official said Friday.
Preparations are underway for Salva Kiir to try to bridge their differences, said Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan’s information and communication minister.
Kiir’s Aug. 26 visit to Ethiopia came at the request of Abdalla Hamdok, the prime minister of Sudan, and also chair of the eight-country East African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) bloc, Lueth told reporters.
Hamdok asked Kiir to go to Ethiopia as he is the “right person to mediate the Ethiopian conflict,” Lueth said after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Kiir.
“You know very well that Ethiopia had been at war with itself. The Tigray has been fighting the government, this is what they called Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This was the body that was fighting the government,” he added.
When Kiir traveled to Ethiopia last month, he was received by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed himself, who accepted Kiir’s mediation offer and also requested that Kiir mediate Ethiopia’s border disputes with Sudan, according to Lueth.
South Sudan itself has dealt with years of internal conflict.
Ethiopian officials have not confirmed any acceptance of Kiir’s offer to mediate the mentioned disputes.
The Ethiopian government and the TPLF, which ruled Ethiopia for 27 years until 2018, have been fighting since last November.
According to official estimates, more than 2 million people have been internally displaced in Ethiopia, while tens of thousands have fled into neighboring Sudan.
*With contributions by Addis Getachew in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia