IGAD Wants Forces Loyal To Machar, Kiir Out Of Juba
The regional group IGAD (Inter Governmental Authority on Development) in East Africa has called on forces loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar to leave Juba and be replaced by a protection regional force that would take over security in the capital.
Uganda’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem said the IGAD-PLUS meeting on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Kigali also expressed its support for the recommendations by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reinforce the U.N. Mission in South Sudan.
“Today had a meeting on South Sudan, and they re-emphasized the position that was reached in Nairobi. But more importantly, today they emphasized the need for neutralizing Juba.”
Attempt to stabilize situation
In a statement over the weekend, U.N. Secretary-General Ban urged the Security Council to impose an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan, enact additional targeted sanctions on leaders and commanders working to unravel the peace process, and fortify the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS.
Ban said any restoration of the Transitional Government of National Unity in South Sudan will depend on the full demilitarization of Juba.
Uganda Foreign Minister Okello Oryem said IGAD has absolute sympathy with the secretary-general’s demands.
Uganda rejects charges of favoritism
He described as “rubbish” accusations by some that Ugandan forces re-entered South Sudan last week to support President Kiir.
“Our troops entered South Sudan to evacuate Ugandans who are stranded in South Sudan. We have already evacuated about 5,000 of our nationals; we helped evacuate other nationals – Indians, Chinese, Nigerians, and many others. We are solely there to ensure that there is a safe passage for all those we are evacuating from the outskirts of Juba back into Juba,” Okello Oryem said.
J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council, said the problem in South Sudan is a problem of leadership.
“The problem in South Sudan is a complete failure in leadership on the part of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. Those two men have poor serve their people and destroyed what five years ago was a promising new country, and if the international community engages in wishful thinking that these two men are somehow going to make up and lead to a transition is sheer fantasy,” Pham said.