Home | News    Friday 9 September 2016

U.S. diplomats on South Sudan conflict over Machar’s fate


September 8, 2016 (JUBA) – United States top envoys for South Sudan have issued conflicting statements on whether the South Sudanese former First Vice President, Riek Machar, should reclaim his position or not in the transitional government of national which was formed as a result of a peace agreement he signed with President Salva Kiir in August last year. The deal was to end 21 months of civil war.

JPEG - 12.3 kb
Former U.S. special envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman (Reuters)

Ambassador Donald Booth, U.S envoy to Sudan and South Sudan told a U.S. House of Representative during a hearing held on Wednesday that it was “not wise” to return Machar to his previous position as First Vice President after he was chased out of the country by President Salva Kiir’s forces.

"Given all that has happened, we do not believe it would be wise for Machar to return to his previous position in Juba," said Booth.

"But this cannot become a justification for President Kiir to monopolize power and stifle dissenting political voices," he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Africa Subcommittee.

But Princeton N. Lyman, senior advisor to the U.S. president, described the idea to cut off Machar from the government as “illusion.” He made the remarks while testifying on the South Sudan’s situation before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization.

“It would similarly be an illusion to think that with the exile of former Vice President Riek Machar, and his replacement by Taban Deng Gai, we now have a true government of national unity that can unite the country,” Lyman said.

He said Gai who replaced Machar in a controversial process does not control the opposition forces in the country, adding that fighting is ongoing across the country.

“Taban Deng does not command the loyalty of all those forces that have been fighting the government of Salva Kiir. Without broad-based participation in a transitional government, conflict will surely continue. Indeed conflict continues now in several parts of the country,” he said.

He also warned that the conflicting messages further divide the United Nations Security Council, IGAD and the African Union, warning that with the current situation, peace will not be achieved in South Sudan.

“The UN Security Council (UNSC) is hamstrung by the divisions within IGAD and the African Union. There is a useful adage that applies here: when the Africans are divided, the UNSC will be divided. Without a strong call from IGAD or the African Union for an arms embargo or further pressures on the leaders of South Sudan, the UNSC will divide. Moreover, any arms embargo or other sanctions would have to be implemented by these same neighboring countries. If they are not so committed, even if the UNSC passed such measures, they would not be implemented,” he said.


Meanwhile, South Sudan government under President Salva Kiir has quickly welcomed the remarks attributed to the U.S. envoy, Booth, indicating preference for the armed opposition leader and the former first vice president, Riek Machar, to stay away from participating in unity government.

“Working relations is very important. If you are working with someone with whom you have no better working relationship then it is difficult to even convene a meeting. You cannot do anything. So it is important that our friends from the United States are showing an understanding,” presidential Advisor, Tor Deng Mawien told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

“We welcome these positive remarks. We are also expecting others to show similar understanding. The people of South Sudan need the world to stand with the transitional government of national unity to implement the peace agreement,” he said.

He claimed that President Kiir and his government are fully committed to implementing the agreement with the new first vice president, Taban Deng Gai, to “the spirit and letter.”

Booth’s remarks have been interpreted by government officials as clearly indicating the U.S. acceptance of Taban Deng Gai as the First Vice-President after the US secretary of state, John Kerry, said in August that Machar’s replacement was not illegal.

The opposition faction led by Machar commended the statement by the U.S. advisor to the president, Lyman, for understanding the importance of maintaining a peace partner and leader of the armed opposition, Machar, in order for peace to hold.

“Those who think replacing the main peace partner, Dr. Riek Machar, with someone who will surrender to Salva Kiir’s dictatorship and violence are admitting their failure to help change such a bad leadership. They are surrendering to the status quo. Succumbing to dictatorship, corruption and violence is a bad cooperation. It is a bad idea because tt will not do good to the people of South Sudan,” said James Gatdet Dak, spokesman for the opposition leader, Machar.

He also said Machar is in full control of the co-national army known as the SPLA in Opposition, as well as leading its political wing, the SPLM-IO.

He said removing the SPLM-IO party and the SPLA-IO army from the peace agreement and its transitional government is an admission that the peace deal has collapsed.


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 9 September 2016 09:47, by Akol Liai Mager

    great idea! Keeping Riek Machar out of the Peace will help maintain the one in shaking. Taban Deng Gai has already shown he is the man that South Sudan’s Peace wanted. He made great difference in just less than one month in the Position of FVP. He is capable too in mending the torn social fabric.

    repondre message

    • 9 September 2016 16:32, by jubaone


      A true and wise word for you: Just be prepared to spend the rest of your life in the diaspora. Take care of your family and yourself cos South Sudan has become a hopeless case. But if you so wish, then come and see for yourself. It is over now. God has not blessed us. Sorry.

      repondre message

  • 9 September 2016 10:14, by Eastern

    Let the Dinkocrats read this; Kiir and Malong are guilty of war crimes:


    Kiir and Malong raped American women working in the country to help South Sudanese. Kiir and Malong ordered soldiers to loot WFP foodstock for Nuers housed at the UN PoCs. These are serious crimes!!!!

    repondre message

  • 9 September 2016 10:23, by Eastern

    Both John Kerry, Smantha Powers and Donald Booth don’t understand the intrigue-laden tribal cabal led by Kiir in Juba. Can the trio sit down Princeton Lyman for a brief lecture on South Sudan. The Sentry is coming out with a daring report on Sept. 12, 2016 - I hope it exposes some dirty transactions drawing in any one of these foolish Americans!!!

    repondre message

  • 9 September 2016 10:34, by Dengda

    It was debate and brain storming, nothing there is final decision by USA government. To all the supporters from both sides, what do we want? It peace and prosperity or power by all mean? My view 2018 is just year and few months away, why don’t wait that time? instead of rushing things through shut cut! Riek will be vote out not shoot out. Nuer now by themselves are divided & fighting non stop.

    repondre message

    • 9 September 2016 10:40, by Dengda

      Taban is playing politic not the interest of South Sudan, Taban resentment over Petrol ministerial position is the key factor here as well Ezekiel lack of ministerial position. Riek was calling for the cantonment of all the IO forces in GB, GE and GU, these call would guarantee security and accountability and would have limit bandits activities, now Taban as FVP what have you seen? More violent

      repondre message

      • 9 September 2016 11:10, by Eastern


        What have you said?

        repondre message

        • 9 September 2016 12:20, by Redeemer

          With Taban we have seen more peace, and Taban will become the next president after this corrupt government of Kiir through ballots not bullets

          repondre message

          • 9 September 2016 19:59, by Eastern

            With El Tabani, Yei is besieged; with El Tabani Juba-Nimule road has become a death trap; with El Tabani there’s no ARCISS to implement! With El Tabani the war in South Sudan will rage on!

            repondre message

            • 9 September 2016 21:08, by jubaone


              I see your oncerns. But who cares now for the South Sudan? The IGAD, Troika, UN are all frustrated and have at best kept quiet. Why would they care for a country whose leaders themselves do not care for it? There are other important issues: Syria, economic development, refugees, Boko Haram, ISIS. South Sudan must sort its shit alone. Good luck.

              repondre message

  • 9 September 2016 21:21, by Dinka-Defender-General

    Excellent news. Machar needs to stay out of South Sudan’s politics. First, he will never enjoy his position even if he goes back to his position. what is the point of keeping him in the position if people don’t want him? As you can see Taban has made a great leadership and he is willing to united people. Please don’t get me wrong Machar is a great person, but lack leadership skills or ideas.

    repondre message

  • 10 September 2016 06:08, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    No one will free this country except South Sudanese themselves. As long as we view ourselves in tribal glasses we shall kill ourselves and leave the country to be exploited by aliens. we need to wake up and set up a true unity government that respects the rights of every citizen irrespective of tribe, religion or race.

    repondre message

  • 11 September 2016 11:30, by Kerem

    Kìir should just aware oil production just to end the story. This what America is fighting for. Just because America has realized that Riek is politically dead, they now want to groom someone who will carry it on by disqualifying Taban

    repondre message

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

South Sudan peace process should focus on separation of powers 2018-06-24 22:25:44 By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi This week, IGAD released a “Revised Bridging Proposal” on the High-Level Revitalization Forum HLRF of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of (...)

Perspectives on Kiir and Machar meeting 2018-06-20 22:48:12 By Santino Ayual Bol IGAD which has been facilitating and mediating the slow-heel Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan shortly abbreviated as ARCISS has unilaterally (...)

SLM’s al-Nur’s response to Troika countries about violence in Darfur 2018-06-20 22:02:28 Response by the Sudan Liberation Movement to statement by the United States, United Kingdom & Kingdom Of Norway on cessation of violence in Darfur By Abdul Wahid al-Nur Dear President (...)


Latest Press Releases

The Suspension of Hurriyat Online Newspaper 2018-04-29 07:04:37 Sudan Democracy First Group 28 April 2018 The Sudanese civil and political circles and those concerned with Sudan were shocked by the news that the management of Hurriyat online newspaper has (...)

Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan 2018-04-22 10:01:20 UN Secretary-General, New York African Union Commission, Addis Ababa UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan (...)

Abyei celebrates Mine Awareness Day 2018-04-05 08:52:03 4 April 2018 | Abyei - The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) commemorated the International Day for Mine Awareness and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.