Home | News    Wednesday 9 November 2016

S. Sudan accepts participation of neighbouring countries in UN protection force

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UNMISS troops escorting the visiting UNSC delegation (invisible) after its arrival in Juba on 2 September 2016 (UNMISS photo)
November 8, 2016 (JUBA)- South Sudanese government has accepted participation of neighbouring countries in a UN mandated regional force, representing a major shift in its earlier position opposing contribution and deployment of troops from countries with which it shares direct borders.

The circumstances under which the government made such an abrupt decision remain unclear. No official explanations were made with the regards to the previous stance on the contribution of troops from neighbouring conuntries.

However, several military and security officers told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that the initial concerns were due to how some countries were perceived as sympathetic to the cause of armed opposition under the leader of the former First Vice President Riek Machar.

The Chief of General Staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), Paul Malong Awan, accepted and welcomed contribution of the countries from the region. General Awan reversed the previous stance of the government during a meeting with Ethiopian military officials about how they could participate in the regional force.

The decision followed a recent visit of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to South Sudan capital, Juba, where he struck a deal on bilateral cooperation with the government of President Salva Kiir, including assurance to not support and host armed dissident group operating against either of the regimes.

The Ethiopian prime minister’s visit was later followed by a visit of the chief of general staff to Ethiopia where he had the opportunity to meet and discussed bilateral security matters with security officials. Also, the two sides agreed to upgrade and strengthen their military cooperation.

In a bid to confirm what South Sudan’s army commander had relayed to his Ethiopian counterpart, the top military officers and intelligence officers in the Ethiopian government also visited South Sudan where they were finally assured of the commitment to allow their participation in the regional protection force.

A presidential source on Tuesday said the President has permitted the participation of neighbouring countries because they have now recognised the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai as the legitimate replacement of his predecessor and agreed to not host or support armed dissident groups operating against the Transitional Government of National Unity.

“There was a fear that troops coming from countries with direct border with us were going to take side in favour of the SPLM-IO led by Riek Machar as part of the regime change agenda. But now it is clear, given the ways things are happening these days," a presidential source told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

"The political environment appears to be changing because these countries seem to have now understood the position of the government on a number of issues. So there is no reason to reject their contribution as long as they stand their position of the government and their role in the protection force,” he stressed.

Meanwhile Santo Domic, a SPLA Deputy Spokesperson said that Chief of General Staff Gen. Paul Malong discussed the matter with the Ethiopian officials and agreed they participate in the deployment.

The discussion, he said, centred on the deployment of the protection force and implementation of the country’s peace agreement.

Awan, according to Dominic, stressed that South Sudan is not against the participation of any troops from the neighbouring countries in the regional force. The chief of general staff described neighbouring countries brothers to accept any forces from them.

During a visit of a Security Council delegation to Juba last September, President Kiir accepted the deployment of a 4,000-strong regional force mandated by the UN Security Council to protect civilians, in addition to the 12,000 UN peacekeepers already deployed.

(ST)

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  • 9 November 2016 03:20, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    And so is imposition of terms of engagement with J1. In the country there is the same disease. Also on international community the same thing applies. It is worrying that the tormentors, killers of South Sudanese are accorded with this first class treatment by civilised world.

    repondre message

    • 9 November 2016 06:05, by Midit Mitot

      Government of confusion, today is yes and tomorrow is no what a contradiction is this.

      repondre message

      • 9 November 2016 10:02, by dinkdong

        That’s what I was about to say. Something wrong with this gov’t. People running it would say one thing today and reverse the very same thing tomorrow. What a mess?!

        repondre message

        • 9 November 2016 10:09, by dinkdong

          No wonder there is no peace in South Sudan. They are like children. They are not to their words; they lack consistency.

          repondre message

  • 9 November 2016 04:41, by Augustino

    Well done job, that is a responsible move by our government. Go ahead our leaders without delay such that your people enjoy peace.

    repondre message

    • 9 November 2016 11:42, by jubaone

      Agustino,
      Making is not a govt spokesman and therefore should have allowed Makuei or cabinet minister to make such statements. This is a confused govt with no agenda except a jienge one. Next time they will contradict it. What is the mandate of this RPF? Will Riak be back as agreed? Kiir has to go.

      repondre message

  • 9 November 2016 09:10, by Dengda

    I know it was coming and new for this government to say no in the first and yes later. I would advise, it good for government not to make final statement fore the it study the proposal. The condition attached were, Riek is not out political scene and was waiting the regional forces to deployed first before he return to the country and assume his position as FVP. Will Taban step down to give room?

    repondre message

  • 9 November 2016 09:34, by Mopedi

    The problem with those of Kiir is they represent personal speeches instead of National agenda, then at the end they become confuse and contradict what they stated a few hours ago.the IOs were supporting this deployment of 4,000 troops Malong was negatively seeing as harm to them no we meant peace that they destroyed.

    repondre message

  • 9 November 2016 12:22, by Eastern

    This change of attitude of the dinka led government came about when the JCE advised Kiir and Malong to avoid the scenario of Kenya deporting their family members from that country. Kiir and Malong are just saving their butts!!

    repondre message

    • 9 November 2016 14:56, by Redeemer

      Jubaone
      The region and the world has come to know the reality and that is why the region has denied you to the core, this was your demand, instead of celebrating you are making unnecessary questions. I said from the beginning that Mayardit will take your demand as his strength, you are now welcome to Juba more and more UN is in as per your demand

      repondre message

      • 9 November 2016 19:10, by jubaone

        Redeemer,
        The Kenyan contingent is pulling out, Uganda and Sudan don’t want to be part of RDF, Rwanda is unlikely to join. Worse more AU-Troika have no money. Interestingly the SPLA-IO controls much of the countryside and reject cantonment. Over 1.5m have fled the country except ofcourse the jienges. So you go back to Rumbek and don’t hide in Nairobi or Kampala.

        repondre message

  • 9 November 2016 15:13, by Adiik Junub

    A job well done by the Government of Replublic of South Sudan for silencing the visionless SPLM/A - IO of Dr. Riek, Now the Regional forces are welcomed after their status is clear.

    repondre message

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