South Sudan says clashes within opposition not affecting peace process

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South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (R) shakes hands with South Sudan's exiled rebel leader Riek Machar in Juba, capital of South Sudan, Sept. 9, 2019. Riek Machar arrived in Juba on Monday for face-to-face talks with President Salva Kiir. President Kiir and Machar are expected to discuss and reevaluate progress and challenges facing the revitalized peace deal they signed in September 2018 in Ethiopia to end more than five years of conflict. (Xinhua Denis Elamu)
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (R) shakes hands with South Sudan’s exiled rebel leader Riek Machar in Juba, capital of South Sudan, Sept. 9, 2019. Riek Machar arrived in Juba on Monday for face-to-face talks with President Salva Kiir. President Kiir and Machar are expected to discuss and reevaluate progress and challenges facing the revitalized peace deal they signed in September 2018 in Ethiopia to end more than five years of conflict. (Xinhua Denis Elamu)

South Sudan’s government on Tuesday downplayed the recent clashes between rival opposition forces saying they will not disrupt the ongoing implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace deal.

Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information and Broadcasting said that the recent clashes between troops loyal to First Vice President and chairman of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in opposition (SPLM/A-IO) Riek Machar and those loyal to his former chief of staff are an internal problem that will not spill over.

“It (violence) will not affect the ongoing peace process because any problem within one of the partners, this partner will resolve their problem because their problem has nothing to do with the peace agreement,” Makuei told Xinhua in Juba.

A fierce battle erupted on August 7 after Machar’s rivals declared on August 4 they had deposed him as the head of the party and military leader of the SPLA-IO.

But Machar’s allies on August 5 maintained that he was still in full control of the party.

The regional body Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) that mediated the 2018 revitalized peace deal recently dispatched its Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu to mediate between the belligerent parties.

Stephen Par Kuol, Minister for Peacebuilding and member of SPLM-IO, confirmed that efforts are being made by the regional bloc and the revitalized transitional unity government to resolve the conflict.

He admitted that the security arrangement that includes training and graduation of the 83,000 unified forces to take charge of security during the transitional period remains challenging due to persistent delays.

“Whatever happened will be investigated, the region will not support the reintroduction of violence,” Kuol said. Enditem



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