Addis Ababa, February 10, 2014 (SSNA) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has on Monday said that foreign troops participating in South Sudan’s conflict must withdraw from South Sudan.
Desalegn’s comment is the first direct hit from a regional player against Uganda’s military intervention and comes in time when South Sudanese opposing factions trade accusations over violation of the “cessation of hostilities” signed on the 23rd of January 2014 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
“Because of this intervention, the conflict might end up as a regional conflict because there are other interests also from other sides”, Desalegn told reporters in Addis Ababa.
Desalegn says Ethiopia wants to see all foreign forces out of South Sudan and reiterates Ethiopia’s commitment to find peaceful solution to the conflict.
"I hope for the cessation of hostilities…, Ugandan forces and all other external forces must withdraw from that area phase by phase," he added.
The ceasefire that was signed in Ethiopia calls for the withdrawal of Uganda’s soldiers and the release of all political detainees.
But, Uganda refuses to withdraw its troops, asserting that Uganda has interests in South Sudan and that Kiir asks Museveni for military help.
Regional observers have on many occasions warned that Ugandan military involvement could intensify the conflict.
Ethiopia is the host of the IGAD-led peace talks and plays an important role in bringing the two sides on a negotiating table.