Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni held talks with South Sudanese rebels seeking a political solution to the conflict in Africa’s youngest state. The rebels wanted Uganda to withdraw its troops as a condition to any talks between the president and former vice president’s government.
A brief statement by the Uganda government said South Sudan rebels met Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni to push for a negotiated settlement. The rebels, referred to in the communication as South Sudan Opposition, said Uganda needed to understand their cause.
“The SPLM Former detainees have been coming to Uganda and selling their side of the story,” Mabior Garand de Mabior, spokesperson for the SPLA In-Opposition Team, said. “Now Uganda has been getting a more balanced perspective of what has been happening in South Sudan.”
Despite previous ceasefires breaking down, Uganda remained optimistic and was keeping troops in the country until a regional force took over.
“We are facilitating all groups interested in peace,” Gen. Salim Saleh, leader of the Uganda Peace Support Team, said. “I think everybody is interested in peace.”
Rebel leader Riek Machar had previously accused Museveni of backing Salva Kiir’s government instead of playing a neutral role in the conflict. Rebels felt Uganda could help them settle the differences with President Salva Kiir, a close ally of Yoweri Museveni.
“Uganda is a senior diplomatic state in the region, with a lot of influence in the region and internationally,” Garand de Mabior said. “I believe they will bring that influence to bare on the parties to expedite the peace process.”
The South Sudan conflict broke out last December when President Salva Kiir accused his then-deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. A ceasefire signed in January has been broken frequently and peace talks in Ethiopia have often stalled.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development has threatened to take action if both Salva Kiir and Riek Machar continue to violate previous peace deals.
The fighting in South Sudan has displaced some 1.5 million people and more than 7 million are at risk of hunger and disease.
Rebels in South Sudan Conflict meet with Ugandan presidentUganda's President Yoweri Museveni held talks with South Sudanese rebels seeking a political solution to the conflict in Africa's youngest state. The rebels wanted Uganda to withdraw its troops as a condition to any talks between the president and former vice president's government. CCTV America's Leon Ssenyange reported the story from Kampala.
CCTV America’s Leon Ssenyange reported the story from Kampala.