Foreign Policy quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on reactions to the inclusion of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir at the US-Africa Leaders Summit:
“I think Salva Kiir represents a unique case,” said Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. “Although the underlying causes of unrest in South Sudan run deep, there would not be an open conflict and civil war were it not for him.”
Kiir’s decision to skip the peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, juxtaposed awkwardly with that of Liberia’s and Sierra Leone’s leaders, who canceled their summit trip to wrestle with the Ebola outbreak ravaging their countries.
“I respect the presidents of governments like Liberia [for] staying home and dealing with the crisis at hand, but in a medically driven crisis, there’s not much that can be done other than reassuring the citizenry,” Pham said. “But in South Sudan, Kiir can actually effect change in the peace talks if he truly worried about the fate of his people.”