ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia will continue to strengthen its support for peace in South Sudan, said Defence Minister Abraham Belay speaking at the inauguration of Juba’s national army on Tuesday.
The event witnessed South Sudan graduate its first group of unified armed forces of over 20,000 new troops from former rival groups.
Defence minister Abraham attended the inauguration ceremony on behalf of prime minister Abiy Ahmed, according to the Ministry of Foreign affairs statement.
Addressing the ceremony, the minister expressed his delight that the forces were able to unite their armies to create a national army while mentioning Ethiopia’s ongoing efforts to bring about a lasting peace in South Sudan.
He expressed his confidence that the parties who signed the peace pact in Addis Abeba in 2018 would continue to deepen their commitment and fully carry out the remaining provisions.
Ethiopia will continue to step up its support, the defence minister added.
In their remarks, President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Riek Machar recognized Ethiopia’s contribution to the process’ success.
Last April, Kiir and Machar agreed on the formation of a unified armed forces command as per the 2018 peace deal.
Juba plans to graduate over 50,000 unified forces this year, reports say. They will be deployed in the national security, police and wildlife services.
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