September 10, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Vice-President, Riek Machar, has directed the army’s top command to establish work brigades that will contribute to the development of the country, saying this would have significant impact in the implementation of development projects across the new nation.
- South Sudan’s vice-president Riek Machar (Reuters)
Addressing the 3rd SPLA Command Council meeting at the army’s General Headquarters in Bilpam on Monday, under the theme “from quantity to quality SPLA” the country’s acting President and commander-in-chief, on behalf of his president who was on a mission abroad, urged the Command Council to engage the forces in productive work such as in agriculture and construction of roads, among others.
He called on the army’s top commanders to speed up the transformation process of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) into a professional and modern army, urging them to provide a strategy and timeframe to achieve this.
Machar, who is also a reserved General in the army, told the senior army officers to arrange and report correct parades of the forces across the country based on their respective military formations.
Proper financial management system in the army should also be established in order to minimize corruption, he said.
He also called on them to respect human rights, saying the world is “watching” the new nation to see how it performs in this respect.
The Vice President also briefed the command on the ongoing negotiations in Addis Ababa between South Sudan and Sudan, saying a lot of progress has been achieved in the oil deal.
On the borders and Abyei he expressed optimism that an agreement will be reached to resolve the outstanding issues, explaining that his country had already accepted a temporary border security map that was presented to the two parties by the African Union and the United Nations.
He however explained that a final resolution to the border conflict is yet to be arrived at through further negotiations or arbitration to determine South Sudan’s permanent borders with its northern neighbour, Sudan.
He said the territories belonging to the people of South Sudan in their northern frontier should not be excluded from new state.
The people of South Sudan in the self-determination’s referendum voted for secession “as a people” and that their ethnically known territories as a people must constitute the new independent state, he added.
Machar was referring to the disputed territories at the border with Sudan which historically belong to some of the tribes in South Sudan but said were claimed by the Sudan.
Besides senior leaders of the executive and legislature who participated in the opening session, participants in the Command Council meeting include the minister of defence, Gen. John Kong Nyuon, Chief of General Staff, Gen. James Hoth Mai, his six deputies, top Generals in charge of army divisions and brigades in the ten states of South Sudan as well as heads of national security units and departments.