US Criticises Machar’s No-Show in Juba
The US has criticised South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar’s failure to arrive in Juba on Monday.
The country’s main opposition leader and returning deputy to President Salva Kiir was scheduled to arrive in Juba on Monday, April 18. However, the vice president’s spokesman announced his arrival would be delayed until Tuesday due to “logistical issues”.
Obstruction of the peace process
State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters of his country’s dismay at Machar’s decision not to return to Juba, calling his choice an “obstruction of the peace process”.
“The United States is deeply disappointed by Riek Machar’s failure to return to South Sudan’s capital of Juba today to form the Transitional Government of National Unity,” he said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“His failure to go to Juba despite efforts from the international community places the people of South Sudan at risk of further conflict and suffering, and undermines the peace agreement’s reform pillars.”
Government refuses Machar weaponry
Reports have emerged since Monday to shed light on the “logistical issues” that prevented Machar’s arrival. It’s believed the rebel leader wanted to bring weapons into Juba – including anti-tank missiles, laser guided missiles and heavy machine guns.
The government reportedly deemed the idea as unacceptable and Machar’s opposition party pulled out of the April 18 schedule. Machar and his party insist they need armed security forces for protection, which shows the level of mistrust between Machar’s opposition and the government.
Meanwhile, spokespersons from each side continue to pass blame on each other for ongoing violence throughout South Sudan.