S. Sudan says awaiting deployment of regional protection forces

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January 12, 2017 (JUBA) – The acting head of the United Nations
Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Moustapha Soumaré said he met with
the South Sudanese Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Martin Lumoro during
which the latter said his government’s position remains unchanged on
the deployment of regional protection forces.

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S. Sudan cabinet minister Martin Elia Lomoro (Photo KT Press)

The UN official had requested clarification on various press reports,
which cited senior government officials saying government had changed
its position on the deployment of the protection force.

Lomoro said government’s position was in line with the relevant
Security Council resolutions that government would continue to
facilitate the deployment of the regional force.

The Security Council, in its Resolution 2304, decided that UNMISS
force levels be increased to a ceiling of 17,000 troops, including
4,000 for a regional protection force. UNMISS also confirmed that in
preparation for the arrival of the protection force, it continues to
be engaged in discussions with the Transitional Government of National
Unity as to the various modalities for the new force, including where
they will be deployed in Juba.

Last week, the South Sudanese presidential advisor on security
affairs, Tut Gatluak was quoted saying Juba would not accept the
deployment of regional protection forces, claiming the country’s
security situation had greatly improved.

In an interview with Sudan Tribune, the presidential advisor on
security affairs, questioned whether it was still necessity to send
regional protection forces.

“They were talking about security but now security situation has
improved. Juba is safe and everyone is the witness. The Christmas and
New Year celebrations went well, now you can move freely because
security situation has improved. The national dialogue has been
launched and the agreement is being implemented," said Gatluak.

The cantonment sites for SPLA-IO forces have been agreed and
directives have been given for them to move into these area.
Everything is moving well”, he added.

South Sudan’s defence minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk also dismissed
claims that fighting still existed in Juba hence the need to justify
deployment of the force.

“We acknowledge that there are problems in South Sudan and it is our
duty as government to resolve these challenges," Juuk told a gathering
held in Juba.

He accused the U.N of compiling reports from individuals in order to
justify calls for the deployment of the regional protection force to
back up other voices.


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