The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), the body tasked to oversee implementation for South Sudan peace agreement, has said that President Salva Kiir has expressed ‘willingness to deployment of foreign (troops)’ in a private meeting contrary to his public statements.
JMEC said in a statement on Wednesday that the South Sudanese leader disclosed his flexibility during a meeting on Tuesday with former Botswana President and JMEC chairman Festus Mogae.
“Among the key points discussed during the productive meeting with President Kiir was his [Kiir] willingness to consider the deployment of a regional protection force in accordance with the recommendations of the IGAD Plus Summit and the Summit of African Union Leaders,” JMEC said in a statement also published on its website on Wednesday.
Mogae, JMEC said, also met the new First Vice President Taban Deng Gai on Monday, hours before being formally nominated as Riek Machar replacement by President Salva Kiir. The President said he acted to fill a vacant created by Machar’s absence following the recommendation of the SPLM IO leaders in Juba.
JMEC said it will resume regular meeting in Juba and ensure that the peace agreement is fully implemented.
“Our only interest is to see a solution that promotes peace and a return to normality as well as security in South Sudan,” said Chairman Mogae.
JMEC said the political deployment in recent weeks that include replacing Machar are ‘complex’ and should be treated with caution.
“The Chairman [Mogae] has decided that, due to the complexity of the issues involved, this is a matter that should be considered and deliberated upon by the JMEC members, both the South Sudanese and our International Partners,” the statement added.
Mogae, JMEC said, is consulting regional leaders and international partners and “has thus met with the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the United Nations and other concerned parties to discuss the political impasse at this sensitive and difficult time for South Sudan.” He met with the Chairperson of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn on Tuesday “to discuss the latest developments and the way forward for South Sudan.”
JMEC said Mogae will continue with the consulting and will address the United Nations Security Council in August about the South Sudanese peace implementation.
President Kiir has previously vowed not to allow ‘a single foreign soldier’ in South Sudan following IGAD and African Union (AU) proposal to send regional forces to support UN peacekeepers in the country. He repeated this stance on Tuesday during the swearing-in ceremony for the first deputy president Taban Deng Gai.