IGAD leaders arrive in Ethiopia for summit

ADDIS ABABA – The leaders of member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a trading bloc of East African nations, began arriving in Addis Ababa on Monday for an extraordinary summit that will kick off Tuesday.

The crisis in South Sudan and counter-terrorism efforts are expected to top the summit's agenda, a diplomatic source told Anadolu Agency.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir arrived Monday afternoon, while Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta are both expected to arrive later the same day.

The leaders of Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan are not expected to attend the summit.

According to the diplomatic source, Djibouti will send Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf to the summit, while Sudan and Somalia will be represented by Vice-President Bekri Hassan Saleh and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed.

It will be the first time for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh not to attend the event.

South Sudan's Kiir is scheduled to meet with rebel leader Riek Machar on Tuesday to discuss last month's landmark reconciliation agreement between Juba and Machar's rebels.

South Sudan's warring rivals signed an IGAD-mediated peace deal in Addis Ababa in May, following a January cessation of hostilities agreement. Neither deal, however, succeeded in ending ongoing hostility by both sides.

The nascent country slid into chaos late last year when Kiir accused a group of army leaders allied to Machar of attempting a coup against his government.

Hundreds of thousands have since been displaced by subsequent fighting, while the conflict has created a serious humanitarian crisis for large swathes of South Sudan's population.

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