Kenya’s Withdrawal Proves Collapse Of South Sudan Peace Process
South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar says the decision by the Kenyan government to withdraw from the peace process in South Sudan and withdraw its peacekeepers proves that the peace deal signed in August 2015 has collapsed, calling for a new political initiative to save the agreement.
Kenya’s leader Uhuru Kenyatta last Thursday announced he had directed Kenyan forces to begin withdrawing from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Kenya has about 1,000 troops in the mission and had pledged more as part of a regional protection force to reinforce the mission.
Uhuru also said that Kenya has withdrawn from the South Sudanese peace process. The foreign ministry affirmed the same in a written statement.
In an interview with Radio Tamazuj from his residence in South Africa on Sunday, Machar called on the international community and the guarantors of the peace agreement to initiate a new initiative to save the peace deal.
He said that failing to do so will mean the war will continue.
“The peace agreement has collapsed and we are searching for ways to save the peace agreement but the withdrawal of the Kenyan government from the peace agreement and the withdrawal of its forces is a big hit to the peace in South Sudan and proves that the agreement has collapsed,” said Machar.
Machar also criticized the Kenyan government for deporting his spokesperson James Gadet into the hands of the Kiir government last week, adding that his deportation is a mistake because he was an asylee and an opponent of South Sudan’s government to Kenya.
“He is registered as an asylee in Kenya and we condemned this action and will accelerate our efforts so that he can be taken from Juba through the UN,” said Machar.
He accused the government in Juba of being behind the deportation of Gadet from Kenya. He disclosed that the UN is seeking to extract Gadet from South Sudan to a third country.
Asked about the proposed relocation of his forces from Congo, Machar said the Congolese government and the UN will handle it. Several hundred SPLM-IO troops took refuge in Congo after trekking with Machar from Juba when they were attacked in July this year.