March 23, 2014 (JUBA) – The leadership of the Greater Equatoria Council of Rights (GRECOR) has openly declared for the first time it plans to mobilise “all sons and daughters of the region” to rally them behind the leadership of rebel leader Riek Machar, in a move that threatens the seat of president Salva Kiir’s government .
In a 22 March press statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the major organisation encompassing the people of the three states of the Greater Equatoria said it will join the armed opposition group in ongoing negotiations in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
The statement, signed by the body’s chairperson, Wani Tombe, described GRECOR as “an integral part and parcel of South Sudan”, saying the issues identified by rebel leader Riek Machar’s SPLM/A In Opposition, “are consistent with the comprehensive and detailed aspirations of the peoples of [the] Equatoria region” and the wider population of South Sudan in general.
GRECOR also expressed its willingness to participate as part of the rebel negotiations team “with a clear vision for total peace and prosperity in [the] Equatoria region”.
The organisation, which is an umbrella of various political parties, communities and NGOs of the Equatoria region, said the current crisis is no longer confined to the political differences that exist within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), or a conflict between Nuer and the Dinka with their foreign allies.
GRECOR said there was a perception within South Sudan that current negotiations being mediated by the Intergovermental Authority on Development (IGAD), and other international partners, are basically negotiations between the Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal regions, to the “total exclusion” of Equatoria region, a situation it says “is a recipe for future comprehensive instabilities”.
The statement further condemned the ongoing recruitment of people in the Greater Equatoria region by Salva Kiir’s government in order to fight opposition forces.
The release also condemned what it said was marginalisation of the Equatoria region in the important legislative, judicial, security and economic institutions in the country.
However, the three governors of Central, Western and Eastern Equatoria states that make up the greater Equatoria region have so far declared their loyalty to the president.