The government of South Sudan says that it did not agree to deployment of foreign forces including Uganda People’s Defence Forces as required by the United Nations Security Council over the weekend.
The Minister of Information, Makuei Lueth, told press in Juba on Monday that the government of President Salva Kiir said it gave “consent” but did not “accept” the deployment of the force.
It was UPDF that secured Juba and key government installations at the outbreak of the 2013 civil war.
The Ugandan army also helped capture the key town of Bor in Jonglei state from rebels under former deputy president Riek Machar.
It was to later pull out of South Sudan as part of the August 2015 peace agreement conditions.
Kiir doesn’t seem to want Ugandan troops in his country anymore—that goes for other neighbouring countries.
According to Makuei, the “consent” government gave to UNSC delegation that visited Juba means that it has agreed in principle to deployment of foreign troops but not necessarily accept them unconditionally.
He said this was to enable discussions to take place between UNMISS, the army, and other stakeholders to work out the modalities (roles and responsibilities).
“Any foreign soldier who enters South Sudan without the government agreeing to the modalities will be considered invaders,” Makuei is quoted as telling press.
He said the modalities are being negotiated and that the figure of 4,000 is the upper limit of the number the government can accept to be deployed.
“4,000 is the ceiling, but we are not duty-bound. We can even agree on 10,” he is quoted by National Courier as saying.
The spokesperson for President Salva Kiir, Ateny Wek Ateny, later told Radio Tamazuj, the government agreed to the deployment of 4000 regional troops in South Sudan if important issues can be agreed on.
He said the Security Council accepted the request, claiming that neighbouring countries have interests in South Sudan and are not neutral. Ateny described it as a diplomatic victory for the government.
SPLM-IO spokesperson, Manawa Peter Gatkuoth, welcomed the visit of the delegation of the UN Security Council and the consent of the government to the deployment of regional troops in South Sudan.