Home | News    Tuesday 1 September 2015

Uganda’s Museveni has shifted attitude towards peace in South Sudan: Machar

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

August 31, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA/KAMPALA) – Leader of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), Riek Machar, on Monday commended Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, saying he has noticed positive approach to ensuring peace in South Sudan.

Riek Machar prepares to address a news conference during the peace signing meeting in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, August 17, 2015. (Photo Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

“When president Museveni was here during the summit I saw a shift in his attitude and his commitment to support the peace agreement,” said former vice president, Machar in a press conference he held in Addis Ababa on Monday.

He said he had dispatched a high level delegation of 11 members to Kampala who met president Museveni last Saturday in a bid to engage the authorities in Uganda on the implementation of the peace agreement he signed with president Salva Kiir to end the 20-month long civil war in the world’s youngest country.

“We want to read the mood in Kampala on the implementation of the peace agreement,” said Machar.

“We are satisfied that the Ugandan government is behind the peace agreement which is very important to us because it is part of the conflict and they have troops which they will have to withdraw,” he said.

The Ugandan troops were deployed in South Sudan in December 2013 at the invitation of president Kiir shortly after fighting broke out between forces loyal to Kiir and those allied to Machar.

The latest peace agreement signed between the two rival leaders in general states that the troops of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) must pullout from South Sudan with the exception of those in western equatoria state who came under a different arrangement to hunt for the Uganda rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

According to the peace agreement, UPDF will withdraw from all locations in South Sudan including Bor and Juba, but a number of their troops will remain in Western Equatoria start per the arrangement made with the African Union (AU) as a regional task force to battle the LRA rebels.

Earlier, Ugandan minister of foreign affairs, Henry Oryem Okello, said on Saturday that the UPDF will not withdraw from the South Sudan despite the internationally backed and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediated peace agreement which demanded their withdrawal.

“We are not pulling out. Uganda is not part of the agreement. We have a bilateral arrangement with South Sudan government like U.S. has troops stationed in Japan,” Oryem was quoted as saying by a number of regional media outlets.

Following Saturday’s statement by the Ugandan foreign minister the rebels have requested explanation and other Ugandan officials including from the ministry of defense said their deputy foreign minister was misquoted, saying their troops will withdraw within 45 days in accordance with the peace deal.

“When we heard of it we inquired and we were told that the minister was misquoted,” said Machar.

NO GRUDGE AGAINST UGANDA

The spokesperson of the rebel delegation to Kampala, Stephen Kuol told Sudan Tribune he was optimistic of Uganda’s positive contributions in implementing the peace agreement.

"Let is be known that the SPLM/SPLA under the able leadership of Dr. Riek Machar does not hold any grudges against the Republic of Uganda and its leadership. We are saying for us to implement this peace agreement, we must everything behind us," said Kuol.

"Let bygones be bygones," stressed the armed opposition official on Monday.

The main focus, Kuol further said, was on how to effectively implement the new peace accord.

"We need the support of the Ugandan leadership, the leadership of the region, African Union, United Nations, the Trioka and all people of goodwill who made it possible for us to get another opportunity for peace in the country," said the rebel delegation spokesperson.

Rival forces in South Sudan conflict have issued statements counter-accusing each other of violations of the permanent ceasefire hours after it came into effect on Saturday midnight as declared by president Kiir and armed opposition leader, Machar.

Meanwhile the rebels accused government forces of continued attacks despite the signed peace agreement which calls on both warring factions to take into effect a permanent ceasefire.

In a separate interview with Sudan Tribune, acting spokesperson of SPLM-IO army, Colonel William Gatjiath Deng, alleged that government forces have launched bombardments on Saturday in Unity state’s Leer, Koch, Mayiandit, and Rupkotni counties.

“They are today on their way going to Jonglei state in Fangak county in the river. They have also started bombardments on the river bank in our controlled territories,” he said.

Deng added that the rebel forces did not retaliate but remained standing in their defence positions.

The military official further alleged that the Ugandan troops were fighting against them along side the government even after the peace deal was signed.

The spokesperson of the government forces, Colonel Philip Aguer, on Saturday and Sunday similarly accused the rebels of launching attacks at government controlled territories in Malakal town in what he said was to gain more territories.

“Their intention is to gain more territories. This is the purpose of these attacks. That was why they attacked the positions of our forces in Malakal yesterday (Saturday) and again today (Sunday),” said Aguer.

“For us, our forces will not attack them but they have the right for self-defence,” he added.

(ST)

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  • 1 September 2015 09:40, by Eastern

    South Sudan better watch the ’shift in attitude’ of Museveni very well. Let’s not deal with Uganda/Museveni as villagers. Museveni requires the likes of Drs Garang, Macher, Lam, etc to engage him not village cattlecamp-type leaders. Museveni quickly moved on the side of peace because he knows very well that he stands to benefit from South Sudan as before.

    • 1 September 2015 17:19, by Hardlinner

      eastern your low IQs Drs lack mental capacity to think. they are empty brained Drs. tell me what apparatus have they designed to qualify them to be PHD holders. they are just Drs for food nothing else. anyone that kill to score higher position is still an animal transition. Bill Gate didn’t kill americans in order to be billionaire. those empty head Drs lack creative thinking. they are parasites.

  • 1 September 2015 09:44, by Agutthon

    With gap between my teeth I cannot chew meat well.

  • 1 September 2015 15:08, by Uncle J

    Teeth looking like Alien people think he is smiling but his teeth are so big his lips can’t cover them. Soon he will be smiling in the grave because M7ni is trying by all means to lure him closer like late George Arthur and Dr. John Grang.

    • 1 September 2015 16:01, by Eastern

      If you are not careful you will even die before Riek Macher; why do you wish others death and you useless people keep disturbing. One this thing stupid people like you fail to understand is that EVERY PERSON ON EARTH WILL DIE ONE SOMEDAY! Long live, South Sudan, Long live Dr
      Macher!

      • 2 September 2015 07:52, by Uncle J

        Eastern,
        I think you are wishing for devil to live longer but that’s not gonna happen my gayass nigga. God knows Riek has killed near to million people in South Sudan and I haven’t killed anyone yet in my life that is the diifferent. If Riek survives transtition period after he returns to Juba then I will blame unknown gunmen for not doing their job



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