South Sudan rejects Troika members at talks

 Riek Machar and Salva Kiir
Leaders of the two waring parties in South Sudan, Riek Machar and president Salva Kiir

South Sudan has rejected a proposal by IGAD, the regional bloc leading peace talks, to include members of the troika countries as mediators in the next round of talks.

IGAD announced this month that it plans to expand the mediation team to include the troika countries which includes – the United States, Norway and the United Kingdom – as well as representatives from the European Union, China, the United Nations, and from around Africa.

South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei told reporters at a news conference if there are troika officials at the negotiating table when the talks resume, Juba will raise objections.

 South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei
South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei

 

“They are the very people who demanded that sanctions must be passed against the government of South Sudan. They have already decided to punish us,” he said. “Are they neutral to come and mediate again? These people, whether you call it troika or the U.N., these are people who have lost credibility.”

He said the UN and the Troika countries will continue in their capacities as observers, adding that the parties will not allow them to sit at the negotiation table.

South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir and opposition leader, Riek Machar on Friday failed to agree on a permanent peace deal, despite pledging to end the conflict that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people since it broke out in December 2013.

Negotiations between South Sudan’s warring parties are expected to resume in April, according to a new plan, which was recently unveiled by the Ethiopian foreign ministry.