South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has given an ultimatum to his first vice president and leader of the opposition movement SPLM-IO Riek Machar 48 hours to return to the country’s capital Juba and work on implementing the peace agreement they signed.
Machar has not been seen since he left Juba after days of fierce fighting that claimed the lives of hundreds of people and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. Many of Machar’s bodyguards were killed in the violence, which is one of the reasons he has declined to return.
In a statement issued by the office of the president, Kiir reiterated his is keenness to return to the implementation of the peace plan.
“”I am appealing to Dr Riek Machar to return back to Juba so that we can continue with the implementation of the peace agreement which needs the two of us to implement,” Kiir said in a statement..
He said he pledged his full commitment to ensuring Machar’s security while in Juba, following the intense fighting that erupted between rival troops just as the two leaders were meeting on 8 July. However, Kiir’s forces bombed and overran a cantonment site hosting Machar’s forces last week in sustained fighting.
Later his government said they would no longer accept the terms of the security arrangements signed under the terms of the peace deal.
Kiir said, however, “I will be expecting a response within 48 hours so that we establish contact and continue building and promoting peace amongst our people now suffering because of this uncalled for conflict.”
Ateny Wek Ateny, South Sudan’s presidential spokesman, confirmed to Radio Tamazuj that President Kiir had asked his deputy Riek Machar to return back to Juba within two days in order to implement the peace agreement.