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South Sudan rejects IGAD modalities on 'protection force'

South Sudan rejects IGAD modalities on 'protection force'

South Sudan

The South Sudanese government says it rejects contents of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) communique which seeks to put protection forces under the ambit of the United Nations mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The country had earlier this month agreed to accept protection forces following renewed clashes between president Kiir and his now deposed first vice president, Riek Machar. The government says it has formally submitted its rejection to the appropriate quarters.

South Sudan said its sovereignty would be ‘‘seriously undermined’‘ if protection forces should be under UNMISS and if a U.S proposal to United Nations Security Council to deploy 4,000 additional troops to the country is agreed.

Addressing a press conference in the capital Juba, on Wednesday August 10, Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information and government spokesperson, said the contents of the IGAD communique were different from what was agreed in Ethiopia last week during the Extra-Ordinary Summit of IGAD heads of state.

During the summit, heads of state agreed on the deployment of protection forces rather than an intervention force, adding that the force did not have to be under the UNMISS. Makuei however revealed that the recent IGAD communique had gone contrary to the Ethiopia agreement.

The government also rejected the US proposal that seeks to allow peacekeepers to engage in combat and gives the UN the ability to govern. They called on friendly and neighbouring countries to desist from pushing for South Sudan to become a UN protectorate.

He further disclosed the mandate of the protection forces which among others was to protect internally displaced persons (IDPs) humanitarian agencies working in the country and other allied bodies monitoring the progress of the August 2015 peace agreement.

Makuei added that the government will agree on the contributing countries, numbers, armament, deployment and the funding subsequently.