President Kenyatta attends Ethiopia summit on S Sudan

President Uhuru Kenyatta travelled to Ethiopia on Monday to attend a summit on the South Sudan peace process and regional counterterrorism measures.

United States President Barack Obama — who arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday evening after a landmark visit to Kenya — convened the meeting. Attendees included President Kenyatta, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and host Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, all seen as the regional leaders with the most influence on Kenya’s northern neighbour.

President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn have led talks on restoring peace in South Sudan under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar are not attend the meeting, the latest move aimed at consolidating efforts to end the 19-month conflict in Africa’s youngest nation. US officials called the summit a “consultation on how to make progress on the vexing subject”.

The plane carrying President Kenyatta and his delegation touched down at Bole International Airport shortly after 2pm. He was expected to fly back home Monday night.

Obama’s direct involvement in the South Sudan peace process signals a growing impetus to end violence that has devastated the Horn of Africa nation.

The Addis Ababa meeting was also due to discuss measures to scale up the fight against terrorism in the region.