June 17, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has written to the East African regional bloc (IGAD) demanding an apology over remarks allegedly made by one of its officials.
- South Sudanese president Salva Kiir wants a regional protection force deployed to the country as soon as possible (Photo: Reuters)
The letter, foreign affairs minister Benjamin Marial said, was delivered by a government minister to Ethiopia’s prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who is the current IGAD chairperson.
IGAD’s executive secretary Mahboub Maalim allegedly described president Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar as “stupid” for pursuing military means instead of peace talks the ongoing conflict.
Marial said statements attributed to Mahboub was “unfortunate", given the regional body’s mediation role.
“The government, specially our president, has sent an envoy to with a letter to prime minister of Ethipia with regards to the unfortunate statement which was said by executive secretary of the IGAD in the press,” Marial told reporters in Juba Tuesday.
He declined to further reveal the content of the letter or what the government expected in response.
The presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny, however, said that the government needed an apology.
“It is clear that [IGAD Executive Secretary] Mahboub has insulted the Head of State and what we wan is an apology,” Ateny told Sudan Tribune Tuesday.
The peace talks between government and opposition led by Machar has been postponed as government delegation demanded response from IGAD.
South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei told the SSTV on Monday the IGAD official’s comment was “inappropriate” and put to question the mediators’ abilities to over see the talks.
Meanwhile, cabinet affairs minister, Elias Lomoro said Mahboub visited Juba on Monday, but was denied access to meet president Kiir over comment he allegedly uttered.