September 25, 2016 (JUBA) – A senior United Nations official said former First Vice President and opposition leader, Riek Machar, is not “politically dead” as assumed by his rivals.
Herve Ladsous, head of UN’s peacekeeping on Friday sad Machar represents a big number of population in South Sudan.
"Clearly (Machar) is, I think somebody said in the meeting just now, he is not dead politically by a long way, he’s there, I mean he’s out of the country, but he does represent a very important element of the South Sudanese community," Reuters quoted Ladsous as saying.
President Kiir last month fired six ministers allied to Machar. A UN statement summarizing Friday’s meeting stressed the need for inclusivity in the South Sudanese political process.
US has said it does not believe that Machar, who was first vice president until he fled, should return to his former position in the government given the continuing instability in the country.
Ladsous said the South Sudanese government had not yet improved cooperation with the world body on the deployment of more peacekeepers.
"There have been contacts at various levels with the government, with the authorities of South Sudan but this has not really translated into significant progress on the ground," Ladsous told reporters.
Taban Deng Gai who replaced Machar as first presidential deputy, told the General Assembly that the government needed to "engage more with the U.N. on the details" on the deployment of the regional forces.
"This is in order to avoid derailing national healing and reconciliation. External intervention often affects negatively internal reconciliation," he said.
The opposition leader, Machar, left Juba when violence erupted between his forces and those loyal to President Kiir.