Did The TROIKA Lured SPLM-IO Advanced Team To Return To Juba?

Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the chairman and C-in-C of SPLM/SPLA with Deputy Gen. Alfred Lado Gore and Chief Negotiator Gen. Taban Deng Gai during the peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia(Photo: file)

Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the chairman and C-in-C of SPLM/SPLA with Deputy Gen. Alfred Lado Gore and Chief Negotiator Gen. Taban Deng Gai during the peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia(Photo: file)

Jan 20, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —- Despite many outstanding differences between the main warring parties in the Republic of South Sudan, TROIKA which compromises of the United States, United Kingdom and Norway has been trying all it could to generate a quick solution to South Sudan’s two-year-old conflict.

In a press statement obtained by Nyamilepedia Press, TROIKA has come forward to clarify a few huddles on a controversial ending of hotel accommodation of SPLM/SPLA-IO officials who returned to the capital within the last 4 weeks.

According to the statement, TROIKA facilitated the return of SPLM/SPLA [IO] from Pagak to Juba and also offered to accommodate the advanced team in Juba as an incentive to expedite the implementation of the peace agreement after South Sudan government declined to receive more than 30 officials.

“During the last two weeks of December 2015, we witnessed the successful return of SPLM-IO to Juba. The United States and Norway, in coordination with the UK and the EU, contributed very substantial financial support for this complex operation, including buses to Gambella [Ethiopia], flights to Juba and accommodation for 240 people. The purpose of this support was to secure the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARC), and the full operationalisation of the various committees as proscribed by the Agreement,” partly reads the TROIKAs’ statement.

“As stated very clearly in our dialogue with both the Government of South Sudan and the SPLM-IO, the assistance will terminate [on] 22 January, the date by which the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) is scheduled to be formed. This means that support for all those now being provided accommodation in Juba will end on that date,” the document continued.

Desperate to see peace returned to South Sudan, TROIKA has urged Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the leader of the armed opposition, to return to the capital, Juba, with immediate effect even if the prearrangements in accordance with a compromised peace agreement signed in August last year are not met.

As a precondition to see Dr. Riek Machar returns to Juba, National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, abruptly scrapped a scheduled meeting with Machar during the SPLM/SPLA advanced team visit to the United States in October 2015.

At the time Dr. Rice blamed Dr. Riek of failing to make compromises on security sector reform negations which was then suspended and blamed Salva Kiir for unilateral creation of 28 states in violation of the IGAD-Plus mediated Peace agreement.

Frustrated, Machar accused Susan Rice and other United States’ officials for “chickening out in the last minutes”.

Although Machar accused the United States  of “not supporting peace” and slammed the White House for not doing more to ensure the deal they backed in August is enforced on the ground, he went on to compromise on Security arrangements and ensured his advanced team returns to Juba although the government troops failed to withdraw from the capital as agreed in the peace agreement.

Susan R. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, greets Vice President

Susan R. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, greets Vice President

To TROIKA and their partners, the return of SPLM/SPLA-IO was a major step forward that needed their support, however, the group did little to prevent the government from continuing the war while implementing the 28 unconstitutional states.

According to the latest reports from the United Nations, widespread human rights abuses continue in South Sudan as peace process gets underway, however, the TROIKA regrets that the peace process has reached a deadlock and they can’t continue to accommodate the advanced team of South Sudan rebels or support them directly again.

“It is with deep regret we take note of the current developments, where the process seems deadlocked. We urge all parties to do their utmost and act in accordance with the letter and the spirit of the peace agreement in order to meet the deadline [22 January] and establish the TGoNU,” reads part of the TROIKA’s statement released two days ago.

In their statement, TROIKA has washed-off its hands and handed over all responsibilities to one party in the conflict, the government of Salva Kiir.

“The establishment of the TGoNU is the responsibility of the South Sudanese parties, and the financing, facilitation and security must therefore be the responsibility of the Republic of South Sudan,” reads their statement.

As it withdraws, TROIKA has promised to continue supporting the peace agreement through its  partners, the JMEC and IGAD-Plus.

“Please be assured that the Troika and the EU will continue to support the successful implementation of the Peace Agreement, working closely with regional and international partners. We will do so through support to JMEC and the instruments established by the agreement.” the statement continued.

The three countries – US, UK and Norway – have shouldered both responsibilities and criticisms on South Sudan.

According to critics, South Sudan conflict is a direct failure of the TROIKA, who are seen as the “midwives” to a rushed South Sudan’s independent in 2011, and for such the trio are expected to be a major bloc in fixing the failures of the world’s youngest nation.

As the top leadership of SPLM/SPLA advanced team returns to Juba, after a one day retreat to consult in Pagak, the government of Salva Kiir has offered in kind to accommodate the IO officials for another one week, until January 29, 2016.

It’s yet to be seen if the peace agreement will be implemented “in letter and spirit” as scheduled, however, the return of SPLM/SPLA leadership to Juba remains a top priority for the TROIKA, their partners and the government of Salva Kiir.

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