August 6, 2016 (JUBA) - Former First Vice-President of South Sudan Riek Machar Saturday has welcomed the East African block decision to send a regional force to his country but expressed fear that President Salva Kiir could reject the idea
Leaders of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Friday decided to send a regional force to South Sudan to protect civilians and to back the reinstatement of Riek Machar as First Vice President to ensure the implementation of a peace agreement they brokered in August last year.
Machar’s spokesman Goi Jooyul Yol on Saturday told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Addis Ababa that formation of the IGAD force could take many months and Kiir may eventually decline to accept it.
He added that they “welcome the IGAD decision but the devil is in the detail”, pointing that the nature, size and details of deployment need to be discussed with Juba.
“What would this force do? We will have to wait and see,” he said.
IGAD leaders called on Machar to return to Juba and underscored that the newly appointed First Vice President Taban Deng Gai is ready to relinquish his position if he accepts their call.
However, Jooyul Yol stressed that Machar wants Gai to offer his resignation before he return to Juba.
Last month, fighting erupted in South Sudan’s capital Juba between followers of President Kiir and Machar, the former rebel leader who became first Vice- President under a deal to end a two-year civil war.
The violence, which has killed hundreds of people, broke out as the world’s newest nation prepared to mark five years of independence from Sudan on July 9.