South Sudan: Peace Monitors Set Saturday Deadline For Machar Return

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The Joint Monitoring Commission (JMEC) has set Saturday, April 23, as the deadline for Riek Machar to return to South Sudan’s capital, Juba.

Riek Machar, the country’s most prominent opposition figure and second-time vice president, was due to arrive in Juba on Monday. However, his spokesperson claimed he would arrive the next day following “logistical issues”. Machar is yet to be seen in the country’s capital.

 

Weaponry dispute

the logistical issues cited by Machar’s spokesperson were later revealed to be a disagreement between the government and Machar’s rebel group over the weaponry opposition members would be allowed to bring into the capital.

Machar’s side have publically said the government is refusing to allow them to bring the troops and weaponry they say is necessary to ensure the safety of their group and its leader. However, international powers are growing impatient with the continued delays in establishing a peace deal that was signed in April last year.

Now the JMEC has set Machar the deadline of Saturday to make his arrival in Juba or the action will be taken.

 

Saturday deadline

The JMEC has set the deadline of Saturday for Machar’s rebel group and the government to strike a deal that will see his return, saying it will refer the case to the UN if an agreement isn’t reached.

The threat came after an all-day JMEC meeting was unable to make a breakthrough in Juba. The deadline was suggested by non-South Sudanese members of the JMEC, which is made up of members from international powers and the African Union (AU).

“If we are not able to reach an agreement, then it is a total breakdown,” said Festus Mogae, head of the JMEC.