August 8, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudanese government on Monday said they were disappointed by a new development in New York in which a United Nations (UN) draft proposed deployment of protection force but with responsibility of intervention force to take charge for the security of Juba, including the Juba International Airport.
- The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon handshake with the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir at Presidential Palace, J1 in Juba capital on February 25, 2016 (UNMISS photo)
The draft proposal circulated to members of the United Nations Security Council by the United States on Sunday said the UN would also determine the armament of the force.
But South Sudanese officials said the draft is different from the understanding reached in the summit of the heads of state and government of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which released a communique on Friday in Addis Ababa on deployment of a Protection Force.
“The draft proposal we are hearing is inconsistent with the IGAD communiqué,” South Sudanese cabinet affairs minister, Martin Elia Lomuro, an ally of President Kiir, told Sudan Tribune on Monday.
The regional communique, according to minister Lomuro, allows the government to participate in discussions related to mandate, armaments, funding and the size of the force to be deployed.
However, the surfaced proposed deployment on Sunday indicated that the United Nations Security Council should authorize a 4,000-strong force to ensure peace in Juba.
It urged the council to approve a regional protection force to be deployed in Juba with the mandate “to use all necessary means, including undertaking robust and active steps and engaging in direct operations where necessary," to secure Juba and protect the airport and other key facilities.
The draft proposal also threatened to impose an arms embargo should the South Sudanese government fail to cooperate.
The protection force, if approved by the Security Council, would be part of the United Nations mission in South Sudan which has been on the ground since the country gained independence from Sudan in 2011.
The protection force commander, whose role will be defined by the revised new mandate, would be subordinate to the overall force commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The council will vote on whether to impose an arms embargo if UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, reports within a month of adoption of the draft resolution that South Sudan’s transitional government is obstructing deployment of the protection force.
Heavy fighting involving tanks and helicopter gunships erupted in Juba for several days last month between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing former First Vice President, Riek Machar, raising fears of a return to full-scale civil war in the world’s newest nation.
Hundreds of people were killed and the United Nations said government soldiers and security forces executed civilians and gang-raped women and girls during and after the outbreak of fighting. South Sudan government denied the accusations.
The East African regional bloc, IGAD, said on Friday that South Sudan had agreed to the deployment of a regional force, which has been a key demand of Machar, who left Juba in the wake of the violence. Kiir has since appointed a new first vice president, Taban Deng Gai, but IGAD wants him to step down.
The draft resolution "urges member states in the region to expedite contributions of rapidly deployable troops to ensure the full deployment of the Regional Protection Force as soon as possible."
The draft text would extend the mandate for UNMISS until 15 December. The Security Council needs to adopt the draft by Friday, when the current UNMISS mandate expires.