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South Sudan peace monitors welcome deployment of SPLM-IO forces

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March 27, 2016 (JUBA) - The head of South Sudan’s Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, Fesus Mogae has said the arrival of the armed opposition fighters shows that the obstacle which blocked the deployment have been overcome by the parties

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Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Chairperson Festus Mogae meets with community leaders and civil society groups during a visit to Bentinu on January 14, 2016 (UNMISS Photo)

"The obstacles that have impeded the return of the 1370 SPLA-IO (Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition) forces have been overcome. I echo what the parties have themselves said there no remaining difficulties in the return of the first vice president designate and the formation of the new transitional government of national unity", he said.

Mogae disclosed that a number of flights by the United Nations and charted aircrafts will transport troops in coming days to Juba carrying fighters of the armed opposition under the leadership of the former vice president turned opposition leader,Riek Machar.

South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters in Juba on Monday that the first batch of armed opposition fighters that the government was happy to receive the first batch comprising officers and non commissioned officers

“We are happy to receive today in Juba the first batch of the SPLM-IO forces. These forces comprise of 39 officers, NCOs and men. This is the first group that has arrived and the rest will continue to arrive with time. We are happy to receive them today. They are most welcome in Juba," said Lueth in a statement on the state-owned SSTV.

“I hope that the transporters, our friends and partners, who accepted and who offered to transport them to Juba, will continue to transport them, up to probably the end of this week," he added.

Both the international community and regional bodies have expressed concerns over delays by South Sudan’s peace partners to implement the peace agreement signed last year.

But South Sudan’s information minister is optimistic a transitional government will be formed.

“And by the end of this week I hope that the required number that is supposed to report to Juba will be here. And thereafter we will expect the arrival of Dr. Riek Machar, the First Vice President Designate of the Republic of South Sudan. We expect him to be arriving by next week so that we thereafter establish the Transitional Government of National Unity," said Lueth.

(ST)

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