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South Sudan Peace Deal at Risk-Monitors

From VOA
Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang, the Sudan People's Liberation Army spokesman, is seen outside Juba, South Sudan, April 14, 2016.
Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang, the Sudan People's Liberation Army spokesman, is seen outside Juba, South Sudan, April 14, 2016.

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN—the failure of South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar to return to Juba Tuesday, the second such delay this week, puts the war-torn country's peace deal at risk, according to international monitors.

Machar was expected to return to the capital this week to form a transitional government with President Salva Kiir after two and a half years of war, but canceled at the last minute.

Festus Mogae, head of the international body overseeing the peace process, has called an emergency meeting Thursday in Juba between government and rebel officials in hopes of salvaging the situation.

Coming out of a special U.N. Security Council session Tuesday, American Ambassador David Pressman said the U.S. is "extremely disappointed Machar did not fulfill his commitment to return to Juba."

Washington is a key supporter of the deal for Kiir and Machar to form a transitional government.

United Nations peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said Machar's failure to show up means "there is no confidence yet between the two parties."

The rebels said Machar did not return because the government did not approve a flight carrying his top general. The government said the general tried to bring hundreds of unauthorized soldiers with him.

Kiir and Machar signed the peace deal in August under heavy international pressure, but fighting has continued.

The war has killed tens of thousands, many of them civilians, and has displaced more than 2.3 million people.  Aid agencies have warned that the conflict and ongoing food shortages have the country at the edge of humanitarian catastrophe.

 


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