UN warns South Su­dan’s Kiir over Machar re­place­ment

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News/worldwide -

THE UN has warned South Su­dan’s Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir that any po­lit­i­cal ap­point­ments must be con­sis­tent with a peace deal that ended nearly two years of civil war.

e warn­ing came a day after Kiir re­placed his vice pres­i­dent and ri­val Riek Machar with Ta­ban Deng, in a move that could po­ten­tially un­der­mine Au­gust’s peace agree­ment and send the world’s youngest coun­try back to all-out con­flict. “Any po­lit­i­cal ap­point­ments need to be con­sis­tent with the pro­vi­sions out­lined in the peace agree­ment,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq told re­porters in New York on Tues­day.

Machar left the South Su­danese cap­i­tal, Juba, ear­lier this month after an erup­tion of vi­o­lence in the city when forces loyal to him and Kiir bat­tled each other for sev­eral days with tanks, he­li­copters and other heavy weapons.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple, mostly sol­diers, were killed in the fight­ing, rais­ing fears of a slide back into civil war.

Kiir’s ap­point­ment of Deng came after the pres­i­dent is­sued an ul­ti­ma­tum last week, de­mand­ing that Machar con­tact him within 48 hours and re­turn to Juba to sal­vage the peace deal — un­der which the vice pres­i­dent must be cho­sen the South Su­dan Armed Op­po­si­tion — or face re­place­ment.

Deng, a for­mer min­ing min­is­ter and the chief ne­go­tia­tor for Machar’s SPLM-IO group dur­ing the peace talks, backed Kiir’s ul­ti­ma­tum. Machar said on Fri­day he had fired Deng and ac­cused him of de­fect­ing to Kiir’s party.

“We call on all par­ties to en­sure that the cease­fire is main­tained and that any di­vi­sions within the op­po­si­tion or be­tween the par­ties be dealt with peace­fully through di­a­logue,” Haq said.

South Su­dan was founded with op­ti­mistic cel­e­bra­tions in the cap­i­tal on July 9, 2011, after it gained in­de­pen­dence from Su­dan in a ref­er­en­dum that passed with close to 100 per­cent of the vote.

The coun­try de­scended into con­flict in De­cem­ber 2013 after Kiir ac­cused Machar, his for­mer deputy who he had sacked ear­lier that year, of plot­ting a coup.

Civil war broke out when sol­diers from Kiir’s Dinka eth­nic group dis­armed and tar­geted troops of Machar’s Nuer eth­nic group. Machar and com­man­ders loyal to him fled to the coun­try­side, and tens of thou­sands of peo­ple died in the con­flict that fol­lowed. Many starved to death.

A peace agree­ment signed in Au­gust saw Machar re­join the gov­er­ment and his forces re-en­ter Juba as the first step to­wards in­te­gra­tion into a na­tional army. — Al Jazeera

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