Kenyans visiting South Sudan will now no longer have to apply for visas in Nairobi or any other cities under a deal struck by President Uhuru Kenyatta during his visit to Juba on Wednesday.
President Salva Kiir agreed to a request that Kenyans be granted visas at border or entry points in a move that will sharply cut on waiting time during visa processing and will boost cross-border visits.
Kenya’s northern neighbour is still an important trading partner despite the current conflict. South Sudan officials said that of the Kenyans evacuated in December and January at the height of the crisis, already 14,000 had returned to South Sudan.
“This is an important development for Kenya and the region. It shows that we are prepared to walk the talk,” said President Kenyatta soon after arrival from Juba Wednesday evening where he held talks with President Kiir regarding the worsening crisis.
The visa deal is significant in terms of recent gains in Northern Corridor Infrastructure talks that partly seek to see the free movement of people, goods and services in the region.
The plane carrying the President and his entourage touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly before 6pm and was received by senior government officials.
At the talks, he assured President Kiir and the people of South Sudan that Kenya stood in solidarity with them.
President Kenyatta has been at the forefront in promoting regional peace.
At a news conference in Juba, the President said Kenya and the region was concerned by renewed hostilities in parts of the country.