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SPLM-IO leaders echo Kiir’s rejection of more foreign troops

Author : | Published: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Taban Deng Gai, SPLM-IO Chief Negotiator in a 2014 press conference in Addis Ababa

Two senior members of the SPLM-IO say the party is against the recommendations by the region and the international community to deploy an intervention force in South Sudan.

This week, the African Union is said to have endorsed a proposal by the UN Secretary-General and IGAD Heads of State to deploy soldiers from the region who will work with UNMISS to protect civilians and deter further conflicts between the SPLA and the SPLA-IO forces.

The idea was rejected by President Salva Kiir.

Speaking to the press after meeting the President yesterday, Taban Deng Gai and Ambassador Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said the SPLM-IO believes in implementing the peace agreement without interference.

“We believe we are in control of our affairs. There is no need for a call for trusteeship of the country, because any intervention of foreign forces will not lead to a smooth running of the affairs of the country,” Mr Deng said.

“We have seen the repercussion and the consequences of intervention in other countries like Somali, Libya and other countries; we don’t need this in South Sudan.”

Taban Deng said the political and military leaders of the SPLM-IO agreed to back the President on his rejection for an intervention force.

Taban called on the army to allow freedom of movement for traders and those Internally Displace Persons at the UN camp.

“What is needed is that leaders understand themselves to work in cooperation and harmony so that the country is brought back to a peaceful coexistence,” he added.

For his part, former Ambassador to the U.S and now a senior member of the SPLM-IO, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth called for the protection of SPLM-IO leaders in Juba, so that they can continue to do their part in implementing the peace agreement.

He said they are working with the President to ensure the safety of the First Vice President; Dr. Riek Machar is guaranteed when he returns to Juba.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chairperson of the SPLM-IO says the party will not return the country to war, but work within the framework of the peace agreement to achieve a durable peace and security for South Sudan.

Alfred Lado Gore, who is also the Minister of Interior, told the media at the State House, J1, that the SPLM-IO is committed to the terms of the agreement.

“There will be no reason for us to think of other things, except seeing to it that the peace agreement must be implemented,” Mr Gore stressed.

He urges South Sudanese to promote peace and reconciliation and avoid spreading rumors that will further divide the country.

Mr Gore said Dr. Riek Machar will return to Juba to work with President Salva Kiir as soon as his personal security is availed.

However, the spokesman of DR Riek Machar says this was not the position of the IO.

In a statement, James Gatdet says the IO is clearly in support of the proposed deployment of a third force in the national capital, Juba.

He insists that in order to restore peace, security, and civility to the capital and to protect civilians and the leadership, there is need for deployment of additional foreign troops with a stronger mandate under the UNMISS.


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