Juba/Addis Ababa, April 9, 2018 (SSNA) — The Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) said some member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have been compromised by South Sudanese government leading to failures of numerous peace negotiations, a rebel spokesman has said.
In a statement obtained by the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA), the SPLA-IO deputy spokesman Col. Lam Paul Gabriel said the armed opposition is disturbed by actions of some IGAD’s member states. Paul disclosed that some IGAD’s countries have been working on behalf of Juba’s regime.
“[In] July 2017, a member of the IGAD council visited Juba and made it clear that Dr. Riek Machar will not participate in the HLRF process in Addis. This came through when Dr. Machar was sidelined during all these rounds of talks,” reads the document.
The rebel spokesman asserted that the July 2017 announcement by the IGAD’s member was an attempt to Juba’s allies to give South Sudanese government enough time to wipe rebel forces out and declare “the country free and peaceful.”
Rebels explained in the document that IGAD’s Council of Ministers went to Juba in January 2017 to consult Salva Kiir’s regime before the second phase of HLRF which was conducted in February this year.
Col. Lam blasted IGAD’s Council of Ministers’s proposal of four vice-presidents which the council tabled in February 2017, saying the idea of four Vice Presidents originated from Juba. Lam also criticized the East African regional bloc, IGAD, over its last month decision.
On March 26, 2018 IGAD Council of Ministers released a resolution, saying they are ready to lift the house arrest of rebel leader Riek Machar and transferred him to another country outside the East African region. SPLA-IO deputy spokesperson said the March 2018 decision was simply an endorsement of Kiir’s August 2017 speech when he declared that he will not meet with Machar unless he renounces violence.
South Sudanese rebels did not disclose the names of IGAD’s states they believe are working for Kiir’s government. However, one senior rebel official who refuses to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media told the South Sudan News Agency in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa that Uganda and Kenya are the lead nations working for Juba’s interests.
“Kiir’s allies in IGAD are Uganda, Kenya, among others,” the official said.
Lam questions the rationality behind IGAD’s decision to always allows Juba’s regime to participate in its sittings regarding South Sudan’s civil war when Juba is the perpetrator of the ongoing war.
“How does a perpetrator become a mediator?” he asks.
The armed opposition further calls on IGAD member countries to be serious in the peace process and warned that if the upcoming peace talks failed, it will be the IGAD to blame, not the SPLM/A-IO.