South Su­dan ac­cepts 4 000 more UN peace­keep­ers

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

SOUTH Su­dan has agreed to al­low 4 000 ad­di­tional UN peace­keep­ers to en­ter the coun­try, af­ter first re­ject­ing the re­gional pro­tec­tion force as a breach of na­tional sovereignty.

The an­nounce­ment late on Sun­day came af­ter a meet­ing in the cap­i­tal, Juba, be­tween Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir and am­bas­sadors from the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil’s 15 mem­ber states.

“The tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity gives its con­sent for the de­ploy­ment of the re­gional force,” the gov­ern­ment and the se­cu­rity coun­cil said in a joint state­ment, which was read out by Martin Elia Lo­moro, the South Su­danese cab­i­net af­fairs min­is­ter.

The threat of an arms em­bargo on South Su­dan loomed over the meet­ing amid warn­ings by the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, which had ap­proved the de­ploy­ment of the pro­tec­tion force in mi­dAu­gust, that it would pur­sue such ac­tion if the gov­ern­ment in Juba did not ac­cept the ad­di­tional peace­keep­ers.

Kiir had pre­vi­ously said that the de­ploy­ment of the peace­keep­ing force was a vi­o­la­tion of South Su­dan’s sovereignty. A force of some 12 000 UN peace­keep­ers is al­ready in the coun­try, and South Su­dan has been wary of giv­ing it more au­thor­ity amid on­go­ing clashes with op­po­si­tion forces.

Pro­tect­ing civil­ians has be­come a crit­i­cal is­sue for UN peace­keep­ers fol­low­ing fight­ing that erupted in Juba in July be­tween forces loyal to Kiir and op­po­si­tion leader Riek Machar, threat­en­ing to send the world’s youngest coun­try back to all-out civil war.

Hun­dreds were killed and thou­sands were dis­placed, while Machar, a for­mer first vice pres­i­dent, fled af­ter the out­break of vi­o­lence. — AFP

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