15-21 April 2016
Compiled by Vincent Marquis
- Machar delays arrival in Juba amidst international pressure
- UN pressures South Sudan for demilitarization of Juba
1. Machar delays arrival in Juba amidst international pressure
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated April 18, 2016, in English) Ban Ki-moon phones Kiir, Machar
- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke on the phone with President Salva Kiir, and separately with Dr Riek Machar, who was expected to be sworn in as the First Vice President of South Sudan on Monday.
- While speaking with President Kiir, Mr Ban commended his decision to welcome Dr Machar back to Juba and to swear him in as the First Vice President. Mr Ban also called for speedy implementation of the security arrangements and the withdrawal of additional government troops from Juba.
- In his conversation with Machar, Mr Ban welcomed the decision of the First Vice President Designate to return to Juba and urged him to work with President Kiir to prevent any further violence.
- Ban Ki-moon also emphasized the importance of quickly establishing the Transitional Government of National Unity, which was agreed to as part of a peace agreement signed in August of last year by both leaders.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated April 18, 2016, in English) Machar’s return postponed
- The SPLM-IO says the arrival of the first vice president designate Dr Riek Machar, who was supposed to arrive in the capital on Monday and take oath of office, has been postponed to the following day.
- The spokesperson of the SPLM-IO advance team in Juba, William Ezekiel, told Eye Radio that the flight to Juba has been rescheduled due to logistical issues.
- Meanwhile, the SPLM-IO claims several posters that had been erected along major roads in Juba, showing Dr Machar with the slogan “Through peace let’s build South Sudan”, have been removed. Ezekiel deplored the incident.
- On arrival, Dr. Riek is scheduled to take oath at the president’s office and pay tribute to late Dr. John Garang at the Mausoleum.
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated April 19, 2016, in English) U.S. criticizes rebel leader Machar for not travelling to Juba
- The United States Administration has criticized the South Sudanese First Vice-President designate, Riek Machar for failing to travel to Juba on Tuesday, saying its Troika members will consult in response to the “obstruction” of the implementation of the peace agreement.
- SPLM-IO officials loyal to Machar however said the U.S. should instead study the ongoing ceasefire violations by President Salva Kiir’s government and respond to the “clear signs of bad intention by the government to repeat the December 2013 crisis.”
- "The United States is deeply disappointed by Riek Machar’s failure to return to South Sudan’s capital of Juba today to form the Transitional Government of National Unity," said the State Department spokesperson, John Kirby, in a press briefing on Tuesday.
- "His failure to go to Juba despite efforts from the international community places the people of South Sudan at risk of further conflict and suffering, and undermines the peace agreement’s reform pillars…" he added.
- Kirby said the U.S. government will coordinate with its other partners on how to deal with Machar’s failure to arrive in Juba. The U.S. also called on President Kiir’s government “to exercise maximum flexibility” in the arrangements for the sake of peace in the country.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated April 19, 2016, in English) Why Machar failed to fly to Juba, again
- The SPLM-IO has attributed the second postponement of Dr Riek Machar’s return to Juba to a difficulty getting a travel permit for General Simon Gatwech Dual, the Chief of General Staff of the opposition forces.
- Dual is one of the senior military leaders of the opposition that were sanctioned by the UN in 2015. Officials say a landing permit to Ethiopia was secured on Tuesday, but that there have been issues with getting a permit to Juba.
- “We are working hard to secure this in Juba. General Taban Deng Gai is trying his best to secure this permit now from the National Security and Foreign Affairs of South Sudan,” Ambassador Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, said in a statement.
- “If the permit is secured, the airplane can leave from Khartoum, Sudan, to Gambella, which takes 1 hours and 30 minutes.” He added that “the First Vice President will be arriving tomorrow April 20, 2016, if all goes well.”
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated April 20, 2016, in English) Government agrees to new SPLM-IO demands
- The government has agreed that the Chief of General Staff for the SPLM in Opposition forces will come to Juba with 195 soldiers, to be followed by Dr Riek Machar, an official has said.
- Dr Machar failed over the last 2 days to come to Juba to take up his position as the First Vice President due to a disagreement over a demand for more soldiers to come with him. The Minister of Information, Michael Makuei, said his government acted in honor of the calls made by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission to be flexible.
- On Tuesday, the JMEC asked the parties to demonstrate the ‘utmost flexibility and spirit of compromise’ to ensure the deal is implemented. “The plane carrying Riek Machar with his personnel, with his support staff, who are not armed, can come to Juba at any time if he feels like doing so,” Mr Makuei said.
2. UN pressures South Sudan for demilitarization of Juba
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated April 15, 2016, in English) UN calls for demilitarization of South Sudan capital as a ‘priority’
- The United Nations has called on the government of South Sudan and the armed opposition faction to ensure that Juba, as the capital, is demilitarized in accordance with the security arrangements in the peace agreement signed in August last year.
- “Another issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of priority is the full implementation of the security arrangements, including the…withdrawal of all additional armed forces from Juba whose presence is contrary to the provisions of the peace agreement,” said Farhan Haq, the UN deputy spokesman for the Secretary General.
- The demilitarization of Juba, which is a priority requirement, has not yet been verified and neither a joint operations center for the rival forces nor a joint police patrol have been established in the capital.
- The UN also put pressure on the expected return to Juba of the first vice president designate, Riek Machar, and his immediate swearing in on his arrival, as a positive step in the formation of a transitional government of national unity.
- "The return and swearing in of the First Vice President designate, Riek Machar, upon his return to Juba will be significant progress in the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS),” Haq said.