South Sudan rebel chief, Riek Machar, has refused to sign the peace deal at the Addis Ababa talks citing outside pressure.
According to rebel sources, the Barack Obama administration expects nothing short of power sharing agreement signed and sealed.
There is considerable pressure from the White House for the warring parties to deliver peace.
A statement released by the U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice it heavily criticized South Sudan’s leadership, saying it’s directly responsible for the nation’s civil war.
“Over the past 19 months, the government has abdicated its responsibilities, failed to protect its citizens, and squandered its legitimacy. Instead of negotiating a resolution to the conflict, it has subverted democracy and unilaterally extended its mandate. As the violence drags on, the conflict not only scars the lives of innocent South Sudanese, it threatens to destabilize the wider region”.
“The path ahead is clear. Violence will not bring about a solution. The South Sudanese parties must establish immediately a transitional government that can serve with legitimacy and represent the needs of the people of South Sudan,” Susan Rice noted.
She added: “We will hold accountable those who abuse the people of South Sudan. And, the United States along with the international community, will punish those determined to drive South Sudan into the abyss”.
This strongly worded statement comes in the back drop of the rejection of the IGAD PLUS peace proposal but the intransigent South Sudanese Juba regime, according to deputy minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Peter Bashir Gbandi, said the new proposal undermined national unity and social cohesion as it put the oil-rich greater Upper Nile region under the control of the opposition faction of the former vice president, Riek Machar.
Opposition said Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, is also a negative factor to the peace process, his nature of deriving solutions through violent means is the greatest stumbling block to peace efforts.
It was leaked recently that Museveni is pushing for the parliament of Uganda to authorize the army to spend an extra Shs 45 billion.
Expert opinion puts the figures of the cost of financing war in South Sudan to be 10 times more than what the public knows, part of the leaked secretive deal is to procure Russian manufactured weapons under the classified expenditures in Ugandan budget.
“This is a war Uganda as a country cannot afford to sustain for any longer than the current period, however, to massage his strongman mentality, Museveni is ready to gamble the whole country just to defeat the SPLA-IO in order to maintain the weak government in South Sudan led by the undemocratic Salva Kiir.”
Museveni, according to critics, is oblivious to the fact that the cost is spiralling out of control and the shilling can barely hold it together against the dollar.
Meanwhile, at the Addis Ababa talks, Machar said he wanted to sing deal and end war.
“I want to sign peace with Salva Kiir to stop suffering of our people. Our people are suffering now. We need to find ways to end the war.”
The talks resume next week and warring parties are expected to sign the final peace deal in August, without fail.