South Sudan: Exiled Riek Machar Sends Team to US to Lobby for Diplomatic Acceptance

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South Sudan exiled opposition leader Riek Machar dispatched a team to the United States to lobby for diplomatic acceptance and also fish support from diaspora, spokesperson said.

“Dr. Riek Machar has sent a team to the United States to help clear the air with the U.S. administration and with our constituency in the diaspora,” James Gatdet Dak said

The team led by Ambassador Stephen Par Kuol, chairperson for national committee for education in the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) is already in Washington.

Dak said they will interact with the U.S.-based media and explain to the American people the circumstances under which the peace agreement has collapsed.

The US State Department strongly condemned comments by Machar calling for a return to war against the government, saying it was “inexcusable” and showed a lack of concern for the well-being of the people.

“We find it inexcusable that he would continue to promote armed resistance,” Spokesperson John Kirby told reporters. “It indicates a lack of concern for the well-being of the South Sudanese people, many of whom continue to struggle just to survive and just as much want to see peace.”

Speaking to Voice of America, Par Kuol said “it is not the SPLM-IO declaring war now, it is the people of South Sudan. The leadership (of SPLM-IO) is just managing the anger of the people that have been brutalized by the dictatorial regime of (President) Salva Kiir”

Kuol has already begun to tour of South Sudan communities in the United states who reportedly invited him to brief them on what actually transpired in Juba as the “peace agreement has collapsed.”

According to Plural news website Sudan Tribune, over 100,000 members of the South Sudanese communities are believed to be residing across the U.S. with the majority of them being the Nuer community from which both Machar and Deng hail.

Dak also told The Tribune that the new “illegal” First Vice President Taban Deng Gai has no constituency both in South Sudan and in the diaspora, adding that his requests to meet the South Sudanese communities in the U.S. was turned down.

“It is clear that Dr. Machar commands the overwhelming majority support of his constituencies in South Sudan and in the diaspora. Our team has been invited to several states in the U.S. by the South Sudanese communities while Taban with his team has been boycotted,” he said.

Credit: Reuters, Voice of America, Sudan Tribune, Africa54/ East Africa Daily