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Japan pushes for urgent deployment of regional force in S. Sudan

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Japanese peacekeepers arrive at the Juba airport to participate in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in South Sudan's capital Juba, on November 21, 2016. (Reuters/Jok Solomun Photo)
By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

December 23, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) - Japan has urged for an early and immediate deployment of the regional protection force to the troubled South Sudan.

Tokyo’s call comes weeks after President Salva Kiir’s regime in Juba announced readiness to allow deployment of the regional force in the country.

Okamura Yoshifumi, Special Advisor to Japanese Prime Minister, who is in Ethiopia after visiting South Sudan, said on Friday he has convoyed strong message to President Kiir and leaders of the country for them to demonstrate the political will in translating words into actions.

He has also expressed Japan’s concern over the atrocious violence in equatoria region and Juba’s little attention not only to protect civilians but also to hold account army members involved in human right violations.

Japan further urged Juba to remove obstacles hampering UNMISS from discharging its mandate effectively and to allow humanitarian access to civilian in the affected areas

The Japanese diplomat said his foreign minister during a telephone call earlier this month had urged President Kiir to immediately allow deployment of regional force per

"We have convoyed a strong message to the South Sudanese leaders that Japan expects an early and quick deployment of the regional force to reestablish the security of Juba and surrounding areas," Yoshifumi told Sudan Tribune.

However the Japanese official said IGAD member states are not responding to appeals of troop deployment to South Sudan.

As a result Yoshifumi said he had to come to Ethiopia in order to consult over the issue with IGAD chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.

During their meeting the two sides agreed to jointly and closely work in the UN security council to find lasting solutions for South Sudan crises.

Meanwhile the Japanese official said that his country won’t deploy more troops to South Sudan.

Recently Tokyo has sent 350 military staff who are currently engaged in engineering duties among others in construction of roads and bridges.

"We will continue to have military presence in South Sudan" he said adding "They are doing very well and for the time being increasing the number of the contingent staff is not on the table," he added.

U.N Security council is due to vote on whether to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan.

IGAD, the regional bloc which mediated the South Sudan political crises on December 9 issued a declaration saying sanctions against South Sudan won’t bring lasting solution to South Sudan.

Japan similarly echoed IGAD’s position saying regional orientation and peace arrangements intended to resolve regional problems should be respected.

(ST)

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