UPDF Withdrawal Depends on Peace Deal- Amum

1466 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The remarks by the former Secretary-General of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and current leader of the SPLM Former Detainees faction come after the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni said Ugandan troops will not withdraw until after South Sudan stabilizes and the capital is secured.

South Sudanese politician Pagan Amum Ukech says that the parties to the country's conflict should prioritize a peace agreement to end the war, after which foreign troops can withdraw.

The remarks by the former Secretary-General of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and current leader of the SPLM ‘Former Detainees' faction come after the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni said Ugandan troops will not withdraw until after South Sudan stabilizes and the capital is secured.

President Museveni's position was criticized vocally by the SPLM-IO rebel group, which said that UPDF should withdraw from the country immediately. The withdrawal of Ugandan troops has been a key demand by the rebels at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediated peace negotiations.

Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, a leading member of the rebel movement stated that the continued presence of troops from the Uganda People's Defense Force in South Sudan complicates peace talks between the administration in Juba and rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar.

But Pagan Amum is quoted by Sudanese media stating that the warring parties have failed to adhere to their obligation of forming a transitional government of national unity with the participation of all parties.

He noted that Juba has returned to talking about a ‘non-executive' Prime Minister while the rebels for their part are talking about the existence of two armies during the transitional period. "Talking about the president or Prime Minister without powers is a retreat from the agreements," said Amum.

He added that the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from South Sudan will only depend on the status of peace.

At least 10,000 people have been killed since fierce fighting erupted in December, 2013 pitting President Salva Kiir's government forces against supporters of Riek Machar, his former deputy and longtime rival.

Ugandan troops entered South Sudan shortly after fighting began in mid-December 2013. Since then, Uganda's military presence has remained a matter of contention at successive rounds of peace talks.

But peace initiatives by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), have so far failed to end the conflict, fought along ethnic lines between Kiir's Dinka community and Machar's Nuer people.