The situation in South Sudan has dominated President Yoweri Museveni’s meetings at the sidelines of the ongoing 27th AU summit, in Kigali, Rwanda.
Museveni first met the United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki Moon soon after arriving Saturday, and this was followed by meetings with the Ethiopian Prime Minister and key US officials.
He was very clear that he disagreed with a UN proposal to impose an arms embargo. Museveni argued this would create a vacuum and plunge the newest nation in the world into further chaos like was the case in Somalia.
“I don’t agree with the proposal on the arms embargo. What is happening in South Sudan is sectarian politics where one partisan community is fighting the other. When you impose an embargo on South Sudan you destroy the local force on which you need to build a strong integrated army,” Museveni told Ban Ki Moon at the meeting in Kigali.
He said efforts should be made to stop fighting in Juba, give Riek Machar more protection and work to early elections so democracy can give the peace efforts momentum.
Museveni held a meeting with the United States Agency for International development (USAID) administrator Gayle Smith and Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs Linda Thomas Green Field at the sidelines of the 27th AU summit, in Kigali, Rwanda.
The bilateral meeting focused on regional peace and security priorities, including the escalating crisis in South Sudan and possible solutions to urgently restore peace and stability in the newest nation on the continent.
They also discussed the need for implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan, and developing innovative financing mechanisms in support of AU peacekeeping initiatives.
Gayle Smith is leading the the US delegation to the 27th Annual African Union Summit that included and Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski.
President Museveni, Ethiopian PM Desalegn meet
President Museveni’s discussions with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn were largely closed but come at the heels of calls by the United Nations and the International Community for a stronger message from IGAD and the AU to intervene and stop the escalating violence in South Sudan.
Hailemariam Desalegn is also the Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government and recently launched the IGAD-Plus mediation on South Sudan.
IGAD has the full and consistent support of the African Union and the international community.
The two leaders later joined other heads of State to attend an Extra-Ordinary IGAD Summit working dinner on Somalia and South Sudan.