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H.E  Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), accompanied by Ambassador Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security and Ambassador Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Political Affairs, travelled to Nairobi, Kenya, to attend  the Special Summit of IGAD on Somali Refugees, on 25 March 2017 and then to Juba, South Sudan, on 26 and 27 March 2017.

On the margins of the IGAD Summit, the AUC Chairperson and his delegation were received by H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan. They discussed the challenges in South Sudan related to the security, the violence situation, the initiative of the President to call for a National Dialogue and the disastrous humanitarian crisis compounded by famine.

On that occasion the President of South Sudan assured the AUC Chairperson that he accepted to proclaim unilaterally a ceasefire and grant general amnesty to promote participation in the National Dialogue, which he equally accepted to be inclusive and led by an independent and respective personality. He also reaffirmed his acceptance of the deployment of the Regional Protection Force.

President Salva Kiir stressed the added value that African ownership of the political process could contribute to the National Dialogue.

Before that, in Nairobi, the AUC Chairperson and his delegation were granted audience by H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, during which the Chairperson thanked Kenya for its continued sacrifices and support to Somalia and Somalis for the establishment peace, security and stability in that country and for hosting thousands of Somali refugees over decades.

Both personalities stressed the threat of terrorism and violent extremism as a global phenomenon, which was underscored by the Peace and Security summit, held in September 2014, in Nairobi and called for the implementation of the Plan of Action.

The AUC Chairperson, recalling the sad memory of the tragic events that took place before the last elections in Kenya, affirmed that not only Kenyans but all Africans  would not want to see the recurrence of such events and called for a peaceful and transparent process leading to free, fair and credible elections. The Chairperson reassured the President of Kenya that the AU would assist and support the electoral process and expected all Kenyan political stakeholders to promote a peaceful and harmonious electoral process before, during and after the elections.

Travelling to Juba for two days, 26 and 27 March 2017, the AUC Chairperson and his delegation met with H.E Taban Deng Gai, First Vice-President of the Republic of South Sudan, to discuss the critical issues concerning South Sudan, including facilitation of access for humanitarian agencies to deliver the much need assistance to the famine affected people and ensure the protection of the humanitarian actors. The Chairperson reassured the authorities that the African Union was concerned and would continue to support and assist the Government and People of South Sudan.

Thereafter, the delegation travelled to Ganylel, in Liech State, to acquire first-hand knowledge about the plight of the people as a result of the humanitarian disaster and show the support and solidarity of the AUC with the people affected by famine and malnutrition. The delegation met with the Deputy Governor and the representatives of the community, including women. The Chairperson explained the purpose of the visit and the efforts and advocacy made by the AU Commission. The Chairperson informed the audience that the AU Commission was appealing to African countries and the international community at large to increase their assistance to the people and Government of South Sudan.

The delegation visited the health care facilities, Cholera Treatment Centre and stabilization centre for severely malnourished children and the work done by humanitarian partners, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC) with limited resources.

African countries and the international community had the moral duty to help the victims of famine and the AUC Chairperson announced on behalf of the AU a token contribution of US$100,000 for the victims of famine and US$ 100,000 to help malnourished children.

Posted by Limi Mohammed

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