South Sudan’s government has approved a report on the regional bloc’s decision to relocate the exiled rebel leader Riek Machar from his house arrest in South Africa apartment to another country outside the region.
The government’s decision was reached last week on Friday, in a cabinet meeting chaired by the South Sudanese president Salva Kiir.
Two weeks ago, the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) announced that it had resolved to release Machar from house arrest in South Africa.
However, the release would only be implemented if Machar renounces violence, pledges not obstruct peace and accepts to relocate to any country outside the region not neighboring his native South Sudan.
The regional body is yet to suggest a country in implementation of the planned relocation.
South Sudanese minister of information, who is also government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth confirmed the government endorsement of the IGAD resolution.
“The report was good and it was adopted and passed,” Makuei told the press.
He added that the Council of Ministers of the regional bloc, IGAD, had decided to send a delegation to South Africa to discuss with Machar the conditions of lifting the house arrest.
Rebels reject the deal
The South Sudanese rebels have recently warned that they will not accept a deal that requires their leader to relocate to another country after he is released from house arrest in South Africa.
They claim their group has already signed the cessation of hostilities agreement with the government which proves their commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Machar, turned rebel in late 2013, after a power struggle within the ruling party evolved into a civil war, which is in its fifth year now and is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands and displacement of 2.3 million people from their homes.
Machar returned to Juba in April 2016 and formed a transitional government with President Salva Kiir and other groups according to 2015 peace agreement.
However, fresh fighting broke out in Juba in July 2016 and Machar had to flee to the Democratic Republic of Congo, from where he was airlifted to Khartoum.
He then moved to Ethiopia until Kiir, working with IGAD negotiated a house arrest with the South African government.
The third round of peace revitalization forum is due to resume later this month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Deng Machol, Africanews Correspondent