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South Sudan welcomes Khartoum decision to keep away from regional force

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August 18, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudanese government has welcome a decision by the government of neighbouring Sudan, from which the young nation seceded in 2011, not to be one of troops contributing countries to be deployed as a regional protection force.

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A SPLA soldier stands in front of a vehicle in Juba on December 20, 2013. (Photo Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

The Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour Tuesday reiterated his government’s decision to not take part in the UN-backed African force that would be deployed in Juba. But he expression Khartoum’s willingness to participate in any regional mechanism to mediate or reconcile the warring parties.

South Sudan’s Presidential advisor on Security Affairs, Tut Kew Gatluak, told Sudan Tribune that the government has not yet received the names of the countries in the region which have expressed readiness to contribute troops and so would not be able to comment on media reports about countries suspected to contribute troops to be deployed to the country.

“We have not received the names of the countries in the region which will contribute troops. There were only allegations which we cannot confirm and make comments on them because they are not official,” he said.

“But yes, we have now heard that two countries, Uganda and Sudan, will not contribute troops. Such decisions are sovereign decisions and we welcome them,” Gatluak added.

The comments come after several government officials in Juba said the government would not have welcomed the return of the Sudanese army in any capacity in the country, equating it to invasion.

Recently, Sudanese officials disclosed that they declined a Western request to approach directly the South Sudanese parties in order to end the conflict.

Khartoum hosts many South Sudanese politicians who are asked to not to exercise political activities against Juba government.

(ST)

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