The South Sudan government has requested the Ugandan government to withdraw troops from the regions of Bor and Juba where they are deployed to allow for the implementation of the peace agreement.
The request contained in a letter dated 21st September sent to the government of Uganda and copied to the Ministry of Defence states that the government of South Sudan was seeking to review the status of forces agreement that had been signed between the two countries in light of the developments under the peace agreement.
South Sudanese deputy minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Peter Bashir Gbandi, is quoted by Sudan Tribune, telling members of the national legislative assembly on Tuesday that president Kiir had started talking to his Ugandan counterpart on the necessity to start withdrawal of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in accordance with the security arrangements stipulated in the peace agreement.
The peace agreement, to which the South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his rival Riek Machar signed requires that both parties request all foreign militias deployed in the country to withdraw their troops and allow for a deployment of an independent peace keeping force to oversee the demilitarization of Juba.
The peace deal which was signed in August by president Kiir and his rival, Riek Machar, demanded withdrawal of all foreign forces from South Sudan within 45 days of the signing of the accord.
“The issue of withdrawal of the Ugandan forces in the country has been left to the president and already the office of the president and the ministry of defence had started discussions with authorities in Uganda. Our president has written to Uganda president and today (Tuesday) and I am going to meet the president over the matter,” Gbandi told reporters after addressing legislators on Tuesday.
At the recent workshop in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, attended by senior officers from the rival armies, they agreed that the withdrawal of the UPDF should start on 27 September and end on 10 October.
Gbandi further stressed that this was why the president came back for consultations with the people instead of signing the peace agreement in Addis Ababa in August.
“So I would like to assure that the government and the leadership of the country is fully committed to support the president in the implementation of this peace [agreement] and all of us should not spare any efforts to stand with him in the implementation,” he further appealed.
Ugandan troops in thousands entered the country in December 2013 per invitation by president Kiir to help fight the opposition fighters led by Machar.
They have been mainly protecting the national capital, Juba and Bor, the state capital of Jonglei, 200km from Juba.
SPLA Deputy Chief-of- Staff for Logistics and head of the government delegation to the recent IGAD Security Workshop in Addis Ababa, Lt. General Ruben Malek, says Ugandan army will start withdrawing from South Sudan on Sunday, September 27, 2015.