South Sudan Chief of General Staff General Paul Malong said the proposed United Nations peacekeeping force lacks a clear mandate as calm has been restored in the young nation.
United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that anticipates a 4,000-strong force that would be contributed from neighbors to help in easing political tensions.
“We do not know what their mandate here would be,” said Gen Malong, adding that there were no command structures either. His sentiment mirrors the thinking of the broader Juba leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and its boss, President Salva Kiir.
“I do not see the need even though we agree on principle about the wider need for stability,” said the general, a trusted close ally of Kiir.
The position effectively locks out any real prospects for the proposed force, only days after the country’s vice president Taban Deng Gai told world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly that his country would open boarders for peacekeepers.
Among the concerns expressed about the proposed force was whether it would be impartial, considering that the different countries have peculiar interests in the oil-rich nation.
Malong said his nation would not want to appear as holding a view that is not shared with the rest of the world, but acknowledged that Juba did not have any input in arriving at the decision at the first instance.
At least 300 soldiers allied to rebel and former first Vice President Riek Machar were killed in a fierce gunfight outside the palace, sending shock waves of a full-blown civil war.
Machar has called for the deployment of the neutral force to clear the city of Juba of both rival armies as a principle condition for his return. He has since premised on that to declare war on the Juba regime.
Credit: The Standard