According to a South Sudanese official, the president of South Sudan has offered to mediate the current conflict between Ethiopia’s government and Tigray rebels in the country’s north. According to Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan’s media and communication minister, preparations are on for President Salva Kiir Mayardit to try to overcome the differences between the two warring sides.
According to Lueth, Kiir’s visit to Ethiopia on August 26 came at the request of Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who is also the chair of the eight-country East African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) bloc.
After a cabinet meeting headed by Kiir, Hamdok asked Kiir to fly to Ethiopia because he is the “best person to mediate the Ethiopian conflict,” Lueth added. “You know very well that Ethiopia had been at war with itself. The Tigray has been fighting the government, this is what they called Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This was the body that was fighting the government,” he added.
According to Lueth, when Kiir visited Ethiopia last month, he was greeted by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who welcomed Kiir’s offer of mediation and also requested that Kiir mediate Ethiopia’s boundary conflicts with Sudan.
South Sudan has been struggling with internal strife for years. Ethiopian officials have not confirmed whether Kiir’s offer to mediate the aforementioned problems has been accepted.
Since November, the Ethiopian government and the TPLF, which controlled Ethiopia for 27 years until 2018, have been at odds. Official estimates put the number of IDPs in Ethiopia at around 2 million, with tens of thousands fleeing to neighboring Sudan.