The leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement -In Opposition (SPLM-IO) , Dr Riek Machar, has expressed concern that proposals in an agreement to be discussed at the peace talks with President Salva Kiir have been “hijacked” in Uganda’s capital, Kampala.
In an interview with Voice of Ameria news website last Thursday, Dr Machar blamed Ugandan President Museveni and Mr Kiir for changing the text of proposals previously agreed to by both parties, ahead of the resumption of the peace talks.
Dr Machar says he was informed about changes in the proposal by Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin, who is also a mediator of the peace negotiations.
Dr Machar accuses President Museveni of teaming up with Mr Kiir to derail the peace negotiations. “There was a provision in the peace agreement that says the national capital shall be demilitarised. This has been changed. To us, this is a very critical issue; this is a deal breaker.
The second issue is that the power sharing is limited to the national institutions, and I believe to the executives alone. There would be no power sharing in the states,” Dr Machar said, adding: “The changes made in Kampala by President Museveni stating that the security arrangement be left to the four chiefs of staff of the four countries Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan cannot work. Our fate cannot be determined by other people; we should negotiate it ourselves. This is another deal breaker.”
President Museveni yesterday left for the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa to join his counterparts from Kenya and Ethiopia in the Igad-led peace process on South Sudan. Igad has been struggling to secure a deal in the face of deep divisions among warring factions in South Sudan.
Mr Museveni was joined by President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan for a closed-door meeting ahead of the plenary on Igad led peace process on South Sudan.
Dr Machar says the Igad-issued deadline is unlikely to be met because of what he says has been a change in the proposal of the agreement. He says Mr Museveni is partly to blame for the ongoing conflict.
In an interview with Daily Monitor, SPLM-IO chief negotiator, Dr Dhieu Mathok Diing Wol said the alterations were “a serious blow to the Igad-Plus proposed compromise document.” .
When contacted, deputy executive director of Uganda Media Centre, Col Shaban Bantariza, challenged Dr Machar to state what the original proposals were before saying the current ones have been altered.
“The South Sudan peace process is being handled by regional forces under Igad. There is, therefore, no way that two people, Gen Museveni and Gen Kiir can sit in a hotel room and change the text of the proposals,” he told Daily Monitor last Friday.
Col Bantariza wondered what was wrong with the security of the youngest nation being handled by a joint force of credible armies.
Dr Machar says the rebel group plans to petition Igad to protest the changes made to the proposed agreement.