24 April, 2024
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President Salva Kiir Concludes Peace Mission in East Africa, Advocates for Reconciliation Between Rwanda and Burundi

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South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit concluded his peace-focused regional tour with a return home on Friday, after a four-day visit to East African nations, notably Rwanda and Burundi. During his trip, he engaged in discussions with the leaders of both countries, aiming to enhance peace and security in the region. President Kiir’s journey began with a significant visit to Rwanda, motivated by an intention to mend the strained relations between Kigali and Kinshasa. This rift had escalated over the past year following accusations by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) against Rwanda for allegedly supporting the M23 Rebel group, which is believed to be based in eastern Congo.

As the current chairperson of the East African Community (EAC), President Kiir’s diplomatic endeavors align with his mandate to mediate and resolve conflicts within the East African bloc. His efforts included urging both Burundi and Rwanda to reconcile, especially after Burundi severed diplomatic ties and unilaterally closed its borders with Rwanda, accusing it of supporting the rebel group Red Tabara—an allegation Rwanda denies.

The historical backdrop of Burundi and Rwanda is marked by periods of ethnic violence and civil wars since gaining independence. Although relations between the two countries showed signs of improvement when the border reopened two years ago, tensions have since resurfaced, leading to another closure. A statement from the Rwandan government, accessed by this media outlet, claims that Burundi’s actions contravene the EAC’s principles of regional cooperation. The border, initially closed in 2015, was reopened in 2022 but has faced renewed challenges amidst these tensions.

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