The host of the 27th African Union Heads of State summit, Rwanda said there are multiple options for intervention in the South Sudan flare-up on the Agenda as leaders prepare to meet in Kigali.
The revelations were made by Rwanda Foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo during a media briefing on the ongoing summit in Kigali. She said the South Sudan conflict would be addressed from all angles with aim of not only keeping peace but also getting on with the political process.
“For extra efforts in intervention, nothing is off the table, leaders gathered in Kigali will do everything possible to make sure that the people of South Sudan are protected and try and get the political process back on track, so whether it will be political, or military, this is one of the critical discussions to take place in Kigali,” she said.
However, Speaking to the media in Juba after a close door meeting with Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) chairman Festus Mogae and African Union Special Envoy to South Sudan Alpha Oumar Konaré., Kiir said his government “will not accept a single soldier” to back peacekeepers.
He said South Sudan has thousands of foreign troops under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and therefore any extra deployment is totally unacceptable which he would reject out rightly.
“What do you need more forces for? What will they come and do? The UNMISS here has so many foreign troops. So we will not accept even a single soldier. We will not accept that,” Kiir added.
Among the options to be considered at the summit, she said is an intervention by the Eastern Africa Standby Force which was formed for such situations.
Mushikiwabo said peacekeeping was one of the issues to be discussed with the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, expected in the country today.
“We are expecting the Secretary-General of the United Nations tomorrow afternoon to meet with the leaders of the continent regarding the issue,” the minister said.
She added that the Summit of Heads of State and Government would also discuss peacekeepers mandate, especially the United Nations Mission for South Sudan, whose troops include a contingent of Rwanda Defence Forces.
South Sudan first vice-president Riek Machar Wednesday announced that his troops had withdrawn to outside of Juba and were not planning for war.
Source: The New Times, Additional Reporting by East Africa Daily Reporter