Obama to meet IGAD envoys on South Sudan peace meditation.

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

July 23, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – US President, Barack Obama, will arrive in Ethiopia on Sunday after paying a previously announced trip to Kenya, his father’s native country.

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US President Barack Obama (Reuters)

The US president will meet with Ethiopian prime minster and chairman of the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Hailemariam Desalegn, and will discuss on how to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions and improve security.

The crisis in South Sudan is also expected to be top on their Agenda as the US is now part of the IGAD plus mediation process which incorporates the African Union, the UN, EU, China, the Troika (UK, US, Norway) as well as five African countries (South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Chad, and Rwanda).
Discussions are said to focus on the ongoing regional and international efforts to settle the political crises in the youngest nation and on ways forward.

Diplomatic sources told Sudan Tribune that Obama might also meet the IGAD plus special envoys and the two chief negotiators of the warring parties, General Taban Deng of the SPLM-IO and General Nhial Deng of the South Sudan Government.

He will also hold separate talks with leaders of the African Union (AU) on a number of regional and continental concerns.

Ethiopia is a key security partner to Washington and has played central role in the war against al Qaida allied Somalia’s militant group, al-Shabab.

Both Ethiopia and Kenya have been on the forefront on the fight against the group.

Obama’s tour to Ethiopia and Kenya is said to be the president’s last trip to the African continent while in office.

Since taking office in 2008 as first black president of the United States, Obama has visited five African countries namely Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania.

His latest tour to the horn of Africa’s nation and to the AU will make Obama the first sitting US President to visit Ethiopia and the continental.

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