Abiy Ahmed (R), Ethiopian Prime Minister and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki (L) disembark from a plane at Juba International Airport in Juba, capital of South Sudan, March 4, 2019. Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki on Monday visited South Sudan in a bid to consolidate the ongoing regional effort to restore peace and stability in the world's youngest republic. (Xinhua/Daniel Majack)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki on Monday visited South Sudan in a bid to consolidate the ongoing regional effort to restore peace and stability in the world’s youngest republic.

Nhial Deng Nhial, South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister, said the two leaders held closed-door meeting with their host President Salva Kiir and discussed wide-ranging issues, including how the three countries can support each other on regional matters.

“In the course of the discussion, the three leaders focused on the need to advance the cause of regional integration,” said Nhial. The minister said the two leaders of Horn of African countries have been playing a constructive role in steering South Sudan toward peace, adding that the leaders reiterated that they are committed to pushing for the smooth implementation of the peace agreement.

“The three leaders emphasized the need to work together to consolidate peace in the Republic of South Sudan in all ways possible and to seek to coordinate the position of the three countries on both regional and global issues,” said Nhial.

He revealed that the visit was in accordance with the ongoing Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) efforts to engage the holdout group of the National Salvation Front (NAS) led by Thomas Cirilo and the movement led by Paul Malong, a former army chief turned rebel, to join the peace process.

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