Juba Upset After Being Excluded from Obama-IGAD Meeting on South Sudan

Obama convened a summit on South Sudan with out President Salva Kiir
President Obama convened the multi-lateral summit on South Sudan with the only IGAD regional leaders that have the most influence on that country. US officials called the summit a consultation on how to make progress in the peace process. The direct involvement of President Obama on the peace process signals a growing impetus to end the violence that has devastated the country.

By Sudan Tribune,

The South Sudanese government Tuesday expressed its dissatisfaction for not being invited to participate in a meeting with the American president Barak Obama on the 19-month conflict in the new African nation.

On Monday 27 July, leaders and officials of the East African regional bloc, IGAD, and the chairperson of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma briefed Obama on the progress that have been made to end the South Sudanese conflict and discussed with him ways to partner with American administration to boost their efforts in this respect.

The South Sudanese president Salva Kiir didn’t take part in the meeting.

The country’s foreign minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, lashed out to AU and IGAD and threatened that Kiir will officially launch a serious complaint to both the AU and IGAD for “breaching protocol by refusing to inform or invite the “constitutionally elected” head of state.

“That is very disappointing on the part of IGAD chairperson as well as the African Union because this republic should have been invited. If you talk about the issue of South Sudan that you want to bring to peace and you don’t invite that country then that is even a difficult process to proceed sort of normally,” said South Sudan’s foreign minister Benjamin.

“We would definitely put our protest very clearly to the chairperson of IGAD for having failed to advise His Excellency President Obama that if there is a regional meeting, you must also invite the Republic of South Sudan,” he told the VOA on Tuesday.

No explanation was provided by the AU or IGAD to explain why president Salva Kiir was not invited to take part in this meeting, but observers justified his exclusion saying he is part of conflict and the participants needed to speak frankly about the responsibility of the warring parties.

But Juba’s foreign minister seriously complained, saying it was unfair for the international community to equate the “elected leadership” to the rebel movement.

“It is not fair on the part of the international community to continue with this moral equivalence between an elected leadership and a rebel movement. It actually makes it a very disappointing diplomatic sort of gesture to the people of South Sudan who fought so hard to get their own country,” he said.

“Yes, we have a crisis, but please respect us as an elected government. To do such an act, I mean no country will take such a treatment in their face,” he added.

OBAMA CALLS TO END WAR

In his speech to the people of Africa on Tuesday at the headquarters of the African Union on Tuesday, Obama called to end wars in Africa. He mentioned the armed conflicts in Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan and South Sudan.

He further stressed on the urgent need to stop the inter-South Sudanese conflict and to hold account the perpetrators of atrocities in the youngest African nation.

“In South Sudan, the joy of independence has descended into the despair of violence,” he said adding “And neither Mr. Kiir, nor Mr. Machar have shown, so far, any interest in sparing their people from this suffering, or reaching a political solution”.

He further disclosed that he agreed with the IGAD and AU leaders that the warring parties must sign a peace agreement by 17 August and warned saying “because if they do not, I believe the international community must raise the costs of intransigence“.

“And the world awaits the report of the AU Commission of Inquiry, because accountability for atrocities must be part of any lasting peace in Africa’s youngest nation,” he concluded.