October 9, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s former First Vice President, Riek Machar, who leads the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), has called on the UN Secretary-General-designate, Antonio Guterres, to follow the footsteps of his predecessor, Ban Ki Moon, in helping to resolve the ongoing civil war in the country.
Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres is poised to become the next UN secretary general, after a formal vote by the UN Security Council approving his nomination for the post last Thursday 6 october.
In a meeting to be held next week, the UN General Assembly will appoint Guterras upon the recommendation of the Security Council.
Guterres, 67, who served during ten years (2005-2015) as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is fully aware of the South Sudanese conflict and its impact on the regional stability.
In a congratulatory letter he wrote to the new Secretary General at the UN in New York upon taking up the position, Machar briefly explained the current situation in his country.
“I am writing to congratulate you for winning the confidence of the UN fraternity resulting to your ascension to the positon of the UN Secretary General. I believe you are up to the task,” partly reads the letter, dated 7 October, seen by Sudan Tribune.
“As you know South Sudan is embroiled in a new civil war that broke out again on July 8, 2016, that evening I was nearly assassinated in the Republican Palace (J1). As from July 8, 2016, the civil war has escalated in the country due to the collapse of the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan and as well as the collapse of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU),” further reads the letter.
Machar who signed the letter as the “Legitimate First Vice President” as well as the Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO), called on the new UN executive chief to prioritize South Sudan in resolving its ongoing conflict.
The former first deputy was ousted in July in a controversial process, which he said violated the peace agreement, after he and his small number of troops were forced out of the national capital, Juba, by forces loyal to President Salva Kiir during four days of fighting.
Machar said he was lured to the palace by President Kiir to assassinate him on 8 July, but the latter said the former attempted a coup. The opposition leader fled the capital and crossed into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a journey that took him 40 days while facing government’s continuous daily ground and air attacks on the way.
The clashes have resulted to the renewed civil war in the country as fighting has resumed in Equatoria and Upper Nile regions between the rival forces.
The opposition leader is currently in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where he received treatment from extreme exhaustion and swollen legs. He is preparing to tour the region to tell his side of the story, Sudan Tribune recently learnt.
His faction has also declared an "armed resistance" against President Kiir’s government and has been organizing forces for coordinated assaults with other rebel groups on main government’s controlled towns
This week, he has dispatched a team of his senior officials to Washington to engage the U.S. Administration, UN officials as well as brief the South Sudanese communities residing in various states in the U.S.