NAIROBI, July 14 (Xinhua) — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday lauded parties to the South Sudan peace process for the security progress achieved in recent months despite the health and economic difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kenyatta said it was encouraging that the permanent ceasefire is holding but cautioned against an increase in communal violence, saying the insecurity risks worsening the already dire humanitarian situation in the country.

“If the situation remains unchecked, these seasonal and perennial conflicts could have wider repercussions on the larger security environment,” he said during a virtual meeting of the 36th Assembly of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of State and Government.

A statement issued by the presidency said Kenyatta appealed to South Sudanese leaders to work towards strengthening institutions of governance so as to attain sustainable peace and stability in their country.

He commended the setting up of the executive arm of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), the agreement on responsibility-sharing at the state level as well as the appointments of state governors as key success indicators in the peace process.

“I wish to note that in the last five months, we have witnessed a positive political momentum in the South Sudan peace process. Through significant compromises made by the parties, a number of important milestones and breakthroughs have been achieved,” Kenyatta said.

The summit was convened by the Prime Minister of Sudan Abdalla Hamdok who is also the current Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government to among other matters assess the South Sudan peace process and review regional COVID-19 response measures.

Workneh Gebeyehu, IGAD executive secretary, applauded the steady progress achieved by South Sudan despite the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gebeyehu said the region’s socioeconomic stability has been strained by several current challenges, including the desert locust invasion, floods and the COVID-19 crisis.

He said the multilateral approaches adopted by IGAD member states were helping alleviate adverse effects of these challenges on regional economies.

During the meeting, Kenyatta commended joint response measures adopted by IGAD member states for helping slow down the spread of the virus in the region.

The meeting was also attended by leaders including Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir.

Hamdok urged all IGAD member states including regional and international partners to continue supporting the South Sudan peace process.

“The process continues to yield positive responses since the signing of the revitalization peace agreement. I wish to call upon all partners to participate fully in the process,” he said.

President Kiir told the meeting that after successfully instituting an inclusive cabinet, the country has moved focus to promoting good governance.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni told the summit that the ultimate solution for the political crisis in South Sudan is free and fair elections.

“I congratulate all the parties in South Sudan for signing the Peace Agreement. The real ultimate medicine for stability is elections,” Museveni said. Enditem

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