President Salva Kiir waves to First Vice President Riek Machar before departing to Addis Ababa, August 7, 2023 (PPU)
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to participate in the Saudi and African leaders summit due on Friday this week.
The summit seeks to find an amicable peaceful solution to the raging conflict in Sudan.
A South Sudanese official accompanying Kiir told Sudan Tribune Thursday that the event would address two important issues within the context of Sudan’s peace process.
“You don’t know the diplomacy. It is not a straight line. Neither is it a curve line. It is an art of unique ways through which important messages are conveyed in the relations of the two countries”, said the South Sudanese diplomat.
He added, “On the surface, you see it designed and displayed in an appealing way: a Saudi-African leaders summit. But the reality is that it is a summit called by the Americans and Saudi Arabia to gauge African perspectives and views on how the conflict in Sudan could be amicably settled”.
South Sudan’s Foreign Affairs minister, James Pitia Morgan said the event would be an opportunity for Kiir and other African leaders to listen to a full briefing from the mediation team and officials from Saudi Arabia on the process of the peace process on Sudan.
The summit, he noted, offers a unified and coordinated approach to end Sudan’s war.
“It is important in the sense that it presents an opportunity for the leaders to address fundamental matters relating to peace, security, bilateral relations and to share perspectives on global trends”, stressed Morgan.
A statement from the office of the president reinforced the minister’s comment, saying Kiir would participate in the inaugural summit of the Saudi African leaders on Friday.
The event, according to the statement extended to Sudan Tribune, would allow Saudi officials to reflect on the kingdom’s keenness to consolidate its relations with the African continent, which is one of the most important axes for the future of the global economy.
“It comes as an extension of the kingdom’s efforts to enhance economic cooperation and coordination and benefit from the available investment opportunities. The summit also aimed at consolidating the foundations of the Saudi, Arab and African partnership in several economic and investment aspects, such as achieving food security, strengthening agricultural, industrial, mining, and commercial partnerships, and concluding new alliances between African and Saudi entities”, noted the statement.
Kiir was seen off at Juba International Airport by the First Vice President Riek Machar with a line of cabinet ministers, defense, police, and security officials. He is expected to hold sideline talks with Saudi Arabia officials to solicit financial and humanitarian aid in a country receiving an influx of returnees and refugees from neighbouring Sudan.
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