Ethiopia’s role in S. Sudan a fulcrum for regional stability: Scholar

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Addis Ababa, 17 April 2014 (WIC) – Ethiopia’s peace stabilizing role in South Sudan is an important fulcrum for the stability of the region, former African Conflict Prevention Program Head, Dr Mehari Tadelle said.

In an exclusive interview with WIC today, Dr Mehari, who is currently a consultant on African Union (AU) affairs, has commended the peace stabilizing efforts Ethiopia is exerting to halt the crisis erupted last year in newly born independent state of South Sudan.

“Had it not been for Ethiopia’s genuine and capability efforts, the crisis in South Sudan could have been worst in consuming more lives and materials,” he said.

According to him, the real cause for the crisis in South Sudan is an internal problem within SPLM, which gradually developed into factions within the ruling party.

Lack of delivery of basic socio-economic goods and reluctance to create a democratic government are also the reasons for the crisis which consumed tens of thousands of lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of local people, he said.

Commenting on IGAD’s-led mediation efforts, Dr Mehari said “the fighting has continued in South Sudan, not because the peace negotiation by IGAD was weak but because of the two fighting groups not willing to resolve their differences in a civilized manner. It will take some time to resolve it until Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir are committed to peace.”

The problem is political and it needs a political solution, he said. “If you have stability within SPLM then you will have a stable state.”

Dr Mehari said Ethiopia, under the auspices of IGAD is playing a key role to search solutions to the conflict within SPLM leaders. “Ethiopia is a trusted mediator and playing balancing role in the negotiation process,” he said.

“Ethiopia’s role in South Sudan will be even much appreciated in the years to come when its long and sustainable strategy is achieved. If there are forces that are not content with Ethiopia’s role, they should be anti-peaces forces who do not want to see lasting peace in that country for their own purpose,” he said.
Egypt and Eritrea might be working to undermine Ethiopia’s efforts in South Sudan for their interest but the truth is that Ethiopia is very committed to bring peace in that nation, he said.
Dr Mehari finally urged Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir to decide the fate of their own people and their country by bringing their case to the table genuinely.



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