South Sudan’s Former First Vice President Riek Machar has revealed an initiative by the Ugandan president to resolve the conflict in the country.
In an exclusive interview with Radio Tamazuj on Tuesday, Machar said the only way to resolve the political crisis in the county is through a new initiative to address the political differences between himself and President Kiir.
He pointed out that he met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni during the latter’s recent visit to Khartoum. He says Museveni informed him of a new initiative to resolve the crisis in South Sudan.
“When the Ugandan president visited Khartoum he called me and I met him in his residence and he explained to me that he has a political initiative. We said that we are going to study this initiative because we are for peace,” Machar said, without providing details.
The Ugandan president earlier this month participated in the closing ceremony of Sudan’s National Dialogue, where the outcomes of the political dialogue in Khartoum were presented. The visit marks a step forward in relations between Sudan and Uganda, which have enjoyed a recent thaw.
Machar also revealed that he has had contacts with the Special Envoy for the UN Secretary-General to Sudan and South Sudan who assured him of the importance of a new initiative to put the peace agreement back on track.
“On 8 October I received a call from the Special Envoy for the UN Secretary-General to Sudan and South Sudan and discussed with him the way on how to address the conflict that happened in Juba. We told him that it’s important to have a political initiative,” said Machar.
He said the countries that do not want him to go back to Juba are calling for war. The United States government has said that it is now not practical for Machar to return to South Sudan after what happened in July.
Meanwhile, South Sudan’s Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny reacted to Machar’s remarks in a separate interview saying they will not accept any initiative with the SPLM-IO led by Riek Machar.
He said that all military operations in different parts of the country by armed opposition will be defeated after the designation of cantonment areas according to what they agreed with the group of Taban Deng Gai.
He stressed that the government would not go back to what he called the zero point, pointing out that they will implement the peace agreement with the group of Taban Deng, not with Riek Machar.
“We cannot go back to the zero square. We cannot negotiate with him because we cannot lead the people of South Sudan be the victims every time. Riek Machar can return to South Sudan in 2018 to run for election,” said Ateny.