"End South Sudan conflict" to resolve Uganda's refugee crisis: UN chief

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Secretary-General António Guterres (centre) co-chairs the Solidarity Summit in Kampala, Uganda, with Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (right), President of the Republic of Uganda. Also pictured, Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. UN Photo/Mark Garten

The solution to the “biggest refugee exodus in Africa since the genocide in Rwanda is to end the conflict in South Sudan,” the UN Secretary-General said on Friday.

António Guterres made the remarks during the second day of the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees taking place in the capital, Kampala.

The number of people who have sought refuge in the East African nation has more than doubled over the past year to more than 1.2 million.

Jocelyne Sambira is at the summit and filed this report.

The official opening of the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees began with a performance of the national anthem followed by speeches from local and refugee representatives.

President Yoweri Museveni, Chair of the international conference, sat next to UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, on the main stage.

The Secretary-General began his address by thanking the Government and people of Uganda for "demonstrating their humanity in welcoming and sheltering those fleeing conflict and violence."

However, he underscored, a permanent solution to the crisis is necessary.

"I believe that the first conclusion is obvious. Everything must be done to end the war in South Sudan. And I want to express my deep appreciation for the efforts that you, Mr President, are making in order to create the conditions that those in the past were united in the liberation movement of the country to come back again into unity and to be able to establish peace in the country."

Heads of State from several African countries were in attendance, including those from Gabon, Zambia, Somalia and Equatorial Guinea.

Meanwhile, South Sudan and Burundi have sent their Vice-Presidents.

Uganda is hosting more than 900,000 refugees from South Sudan and 400,000 from Burundi, according to estimates from the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1'29

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