South Sudan Won’t Accept Troops from Neighbors—Official says they harbor “Interests” in the Conflict

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South Sudan says it will not accept soldiers from their immediate neighboring countries to be part of a third neutral force proposed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny, said neighboring countries are likely to be biased in their operations “because they have conflicting interests in the country.”

The remarks follow a meeting with delegation from the UNSC who visited the country to engage President Salva Kiir not to block the deployment of a protection force.

Ateny said government asked the Security Council to consider their position on the matter.

“The Security Council agreed to take into consideration the position of the Government of South Sudan that the troops contributing countries must be countries other than our immediate neighbors. he said

“The six bordering countries to South Sudan must not be part of troops contributing countries. And this came on the line that some of our neighboring countries have already developed conflicting interests,” Ateny opined

Juba has had a sour relationship with its northern neighbor Sudan whom it accuses of funding and supporting embattled opposition and rebel leader Riek Machar. Uganda which enjoys a good relationship with South Sudan fought on its side for two years during the civil war and has since lost its neutrality in the conflict.

Minister of Information Michael Makuei said consent was given by the government to enable discussions to take place between the United Nations mission in the country, the army, and other stakeholders in order to work out modalities.

Associated Press (AP) quoted minister Lueth as also announcing dramatic limits on a 4,000-strong new peacekeeping force, saying anyone who enters without consent is an “invader.”

“4,000 is the ceiling, but we are not duty-bound. We can even agree on 10,” Makuei said.

The statement challenges the agreement reached between the government and the visiting UN Security Council after meeting President Salva Kiir on Sunday and emerged with a joint statement accepting the new UN mandated regional protection force.

Credit: Sudan Tribune