ADDIS ABABA, May 2– The foreign ministers of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and the United States say they have agreed to work together for the immediate deployment of a regional force and stop the killing of civilians in South Sudan.

After discussing the situation on the ground in South Sudan here Thursday, Ethiopian Minister Dr Tedros Adhanom and US Secretary of State John Kerry briefed the media on the outcome of their meeting with Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed and Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa.

Dr Tedros said the ministers agreed to work together to ensure lasting peace in South Sudan, since the crisis in that country posed a security threat to the region in addition to the humanitarian crisis. “The one thing that the meeting stressed on is the deployment of the (regional) force as soon as possible.”

He added that they agreed that they should be as aggressive as possible to realize the immediate deployment of the force.

Expressing his appreciation for the support from the US government for the South Sudan peace process, Dr Tedros expressed hope that this would continue.

“Everybody agrees on the need for the killings to stop and that humanitarian access is needed for aid to be delivered.” said Kerry. “Most importantly, the deployment (of the regional force) that has the possibility to make peace happen needs to get on the ground as rapidly as possible.”

Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Dina Mufti told reporters that the ministers also discussed ways of achieving immediate deployment of the regional force. They agreed that IGAD should put a time-frame for the deployment of the force and it should be quick.

IGAD Heads of State and Government had decided to deploy the force before April 15 but failed to meet the deadline.

The ministers agreed that the South Sudan peace process was not proceeding as it should and this had led to the worsening of the security and humanitarian situation in that country. In this regard, they wished to pass a message to the two opposing sides that they are responsible for the worsening of the condition and civilian crisis, said Dina.

Kerry will be meeting South Sudanese officials, including President Salva Kiir Mayardit, on Saturday to talk about this responsibility and the need to immediately stop the fighting.


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