President Yoweri Museveni, hosted South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar to discuss peace in South Sudan.
“I want to start a new chapter of peace and friendship,” Machar said during the meeting with President Museveni.
Although the leader is ready to go back to South Sudan, in a media address in Kampala, Dr Machar said that he will only go back to the country’s capital Juba after the peace agreement signed last year is fully institutionalized.
The peace agreement was signed in August 2015 after the 2013 crisis caused by discrepancies between the ruling party and the opposition.
According to Machar, the delay of including the clauses of the treaty into the Transitional Constitution is what is keeping him away. Machar and his team are expected to go back to the country to take up his role as First Vice President under the Transitional Government of National Unity expected to last in the next three years.
“Going to Juba is very simple and I should have been there by yesterday. The peace agreement I signed with president Kiir has not been included into our Transitional Constitution,” he said at the press address.
Dr. Riek Machar arrived in the country with a 15-member delegation that included Ms. Angelina Teny the Chairperson of SPLM National Committee for Security and Defense, Ambassador Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth the SPLM Chairperson for the National Committee on Foreign Affairs and Dr. Peter Odwok the SPLM National Chairperson for the Committee for Training and Research among others. He took the opportunity to brief President Museveni on the progress and steps taken to implement the negotiated peace process in South Sudan.
Since May 2014, Machar has been staying in the neighboring Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa only taking time to travel to SPLA’s headquarters in Pagak, which borders Ethiopia.
In his plans to return to Juba, Machar recently sent his chief peace talk negotiator, Gen. Taban Deng and other team members to prepare the grounds for his arrival.
“The formation of 28 states was not part of the peace agreement. It is a violation of the agreement and that is another obstacle,” he said adding to the list of reasons why he has delayed his returning to Juba.
During the peace talks, the states were 10, but October last year, Kiir passed a decree that created 28 out of the original. Machar argued that the talks were initially based on the 10, and not 28.
According to United Nations, South Sudan crisis has left more than 20,000 people dead, and 2 million more displaced internally and to the neighboring countries.
President Museveni said he will accord the world’s youngest country support and peace initiatives to stabilize it. He commended the progress so far made in bringing about peace and stability in the country.
Image Credit: Oxfam America