By Fauxile Kibet
NAIROBI: The African Union has said that it is considering imposing sanctions on leaders who are frustrating the South Sudan peace process and called on the International community not to scale down its support for AMISOM.
AU Commission chairman Mussa Faki Mahamat who spoke while meeting Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi said that IGAD states should remain on course in pushing for peace and stability in South Sudan.
“There is need to come up with more original proposals that will help resolve the problem in South Sudan. We are relying on you, Mr President, and your colleagues in IGAD to help,” the AUC Chairman said.
Mr Mahamat said the AU was considering imposing sanctions on leaders who will appear to be frustrating the South Sudan peace process and appreciated Kenya’s unwavering support to regional peace and stability.
The Kenyan president on his part expressed concern over the slow pace of the peace process in the youngest nation in the East African region and called on South Sudan leaders to embrace the IGAD and AU-led peace processes, saying it was sad that some leaders were derailing the peace initiatives.
“The situation in South Sudan is of great concern to us. After Naivasha, we hoped we will have a stable and prosperous country. It is disappointing to see that the situation has deteriorated even further,” President Kenyatta said.
In February, the African Union Commission (AUC) chairman who spoke during a meeting of African leaders in Ethiopia said that time had come to slap sanctions on South Sudanese leaders who block peace efforts.
“The time has come to sanction those who are blocking peace,” said Dr Mahamat.
Tens of thousands have died and nearly four million South Sudanese have been driven from their homes, while millions are going hungry in a humanitarian crisis that has been worsened by the prolonged conflict.
The AU leader said that Kenya had done well by resolving their political differences which occurred after the last general elections – which saw at least 37 people killed and 126 others injured during post – election chaos, according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.
He further added that Kenya’s political stability was key as the East African country played a key role in promoting peace and stability in Somalia and South Sudan.
“We commend the sacrifice Kenya has continued to make in support of Somalia and South Sudan in terms of human and capital investment,” Mr Mahamat said.
Mr Kenyatta also said that Kenya fully supports the continental integration agenda, saying that the East African nation will soon submit its papers for the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement that he signed last month in Kigali, Rwanda, with other African leaders.
“Even as we move to strengthen intra-Africa trade, we should not do this at the expense of our African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) partnership. There is a growing feeling that Africa is trying to pull out from the ACP partnership,” Mr Kenyatta observed.