South Sudan: Gov’t managed to convince AU on Irreverence of Machar in peace process—official

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South Sudan reportedly managed to convince a visiting delegation from the African Union Peace and Security Council about the irrelevance of Riek Machar in the peace process, an official said.

Presidential adviser on Security Affairs, Tut Kew Gatluak, says cabinet members clearly stated and affirmed during a series of meetings with the officials from AU about the new government’s commitment to peace as compared to scramble and partition for power when exiled Machar was still at the helm of opposition affairs.

“In the meeting with the government they were convinced that a lot has been done. And it proved the commitment of the government to go ahead with the implementation of the peace agreement,” Gatluak said.

The new vice president Taban Deng Gai who replaced Machar in a controversial turn of events also told delegation that “the days when Riek Machar was in Juba, we witnessed strange relationship between him and government,” said Gai.

He said his faction is enjoying a good working relationship with the government of Salva Kiir and the two are moving toward the implementation of the peace deal. He said allowing Machar back into the country will strain this relationship.

“So how do we move forward? He cannot take charge of his responsibility and the people of South Sudan need the things to go forward. They need the peace to be implemented,” he explained.

In September, United Nations peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told members during a meeting on the sidelines of the General assembly that the role of Machar in South Sudan peace process can not be downplayed adding that he “is not dead politically”.

“Clearly (Machar) is, I think somebody said in the meeting just now, he is not dead politically by a long way, he’s there, I mean he’s out of the country, but he does represent a very important element of the South Sudanese community,” Ladsous said.

The head of the AU delegation Catherine Muigai Mwangi said following the visit, “we have a better understanding of the challenges that are facing this country especially the implementation of the peace agreement”.

“We have reassured the leadership and people of South Sudan that we will remain engaged and will continue to support South Sudan in implementing the peace agreement and make sure that peace comes back to South Sudan,” she said in her concluding message.

With Files from Sudan Tribune, Reuters/East Africa Daily