US President Barack Obama speaking on Tuesday questioned whether President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar are capable of making peace, saying that any failure to meet the 17 August deadline set by IGAD mediators will show that a new plan is needed.
Mediators of the East African regional body IGAD have proposed that Kiir and Machar should rule South Sudan together, with Kiir remaining as president for the years to come and Machar as first vice president.
After a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Obama said that a “different plan” may be needed for South Sudan if the warring parties reject the IGAD proposal.
“If they miss that target, then I think it’s our view that it’s going to be necessary for us to move forward with a different plan and recognize that those leaders are incapable of creating the peace that is required,” the president said after talks with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was visiting Washington.
Obama said President Salva Kiir and his vice president-turned-rebel leader Riek Machar had squandered the hope South Sudan had and the progress it had made when the nation became independent in 2011.
For his part, he UN Secretary-General said, “I highly appreciate and commend the leadership of President Obama on South Sudan. His recent visit to Africa and convening a leaders meeting on South Sudan really made a big impact.”
“We are working very hard with the IGAD members and African Union so that this August 17th summit meeting of IGAD will be able to have adoption of this agreement between the parties. We are working very hard,” said Ban.