Civil Society Activist Warns IGAD Not To Prioritize Trade Over Peace Talks

This article was last updated on May 27, 2022

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Edmon Yakani who is the Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said the trend by the East African countries to proceed with infrastructural projects with South Sudan places much insignificance on the Addis Ababa peace dialogue.

Mr. Yekana said proceeding with the Lamu Port and South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project will create conflicting interest over South Sudan’s resources by the neighboring countries.

He claims that Sudan is equally logging her proposal to the IGAD to permit a separate pipeline deal.

The proposal, if accepted, will enable Sudan continue with the flow of oil through its current pipeline from Unity state to Port Sudan.

“If IGAD happens to sleep, then the two blocs will automatically confuse the whole thing -especially the IGAD from concentrating on the ongoing peace talks between South Sudanese warring parties.” Mr. Yakani said.

He added that the region should halt any trade deal with South Sudan until peace is agreed upon by the warring parties in Addis Ababa.

He petitioned IGAD to notify the East African countries and Sudan to support the search for a political solution to the one year conflict in South Sudan, instead of competing over access to South Sudan’s resources.  

“Automatically peace talks will be jeopardized thus; the present civil war in the country will be prolonged. I am urging the IGAD secretariat that they should warn the blocks before it gets worse and worse,” he concernedly expressed. 

Edmon  Yakani who spoke to Gurtong in Torit, Eastern Equatoria state said that those four countries which constitute the railway line bloc are; Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, while the countries that are interested in the pipeline project include; Sudan, Djibouti and Ethiopia. 

The Activist strongly advises South Sudan’s neighbor countries to demonstrate commitment to ensure that such divisions within IGAD region does not affect further peace and stability in South Sudan. 

President Salva Kiir, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, and Former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Late Meles Zenawi, Launched in 2012 the LAPSSET project which  involves the construction of a new port at Lamu; an oil pipeline from Lamu to South Sudan; and road and railway links to the west and to southern Ethiopia. 

Experts believe that the completion of any one of these projects could transform regional socioeconomicdevelopment and enhanced cross – border trade.

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