At a time when international diplomatic negotiations at the level of AU, UN, UK and US officially failed to resolve the deadlock over the oil dispute between Sudan and South Sudan, Kenya, after assuming the current IGAD chairmanship, quietly starts a new but dubious mediator role by waving the IGAD flag.
In the face of previous high-profile diplomatic failures, IGAD needs the support of all its member states to succeed, including Eritrea, a founding member and key regional player.
For that, Kenya decided to dispatch its Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula soon to Eritrea to garner the much needed support as it believes Eritrea wields a considerable lever on both Khartoum and Juba.
During his meeting with his Eritrean counterpart, Mr. Wetangula is expected to discuss on ways of developing a common position ahead of the forthcoming summit of IGAD member state in light of recent bombing allegations of Juba’s oil fields by Khartoum.
Moreover, to enable Eritrea play its due contribution within IGAD, it is expected that Kenya, under its new chairmanship of IGAD, will formally honor Eritrea’s IGAD membership re-activation bid.
The outcome of his visit will then be determined on how Eritrea takes the delicate balancing act it is asked to tread despite its excellent relations with Sudan and South Sudan.
East African media sources in recent days, however, reported that there is already a storm brewing over Juba oil between Uganda and Kenya . It happened that Uganda was hoping to jointly construct a pipeline with South Sudan to export their processed fuel via the Kenyan port of Mombasa only to find that South Sudan signed the multi-Billion dollar pipeline deal with Kenya and Ethiopia leaving Uganda in the cold.
To calm down Uganda’s anger, President Mwai Kibaki sent Prime Minister Raila Odinga as his special envoy to offer assurances that it was not Kenya’s intention to back-stab Uganda.
President Museveni during the meeting reportedly replied that he understood Kenya’s position and had no qualms with the venture since the newly-independent South Sudan is in “urgent need” of a functional oil pipeline within one-and-a-half years. He, however, indicated that it would be best to have the proposed pipeline pass through Uganda.
As a continuation of this IGAD dubbed initiative, Kenya’s vice president Kalonzo Musyoka will shortly travel to Khartoum as his Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula will continue to visit capitals like Addis Ababa and Djibouti in what rather looks like an attempt to consolidate its $25 Billion dollar pipeline and refinery deal with South Sudan than mediating the long running deadlock between the two Sudans.