South Sudan president meets deputy in capital Juba as fears of slide back into civil war resurface

South Sudan president meets deputy in capital Juba as fears of slide back into civil war resurface


South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his first deputy, Riek Machar met on Friday (today) at the State House in the capital, Juba, to discuss the recent dismissal of Defence Minister Angelina Teny.

The eagerly anticipated meeting happens a week after Kiir unilaterally sacked the Defence and Veterans Affairs minister Angelina Teny and swapped the ministry from the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) to the ruling party (SPLM).

The move was criticised by Dr Machar and a section of peace monitors who expressed fears that the dismissal had the potential to renew conflict.

“We hope that the meeting will observe the spirit and letter of the revitalised peace agreement,” noted a statement from the acting Press Secretary in the office of the First Vice President Goanar Gordon Yien.

The meeting, initially planned for Thursday, had to be rescheduled for Friday. The body monitoring the peace process (RJMEC) on Wednesday urged Kiir and the country’s First Vice President to focus on timely implementation of the peace accord.

Mr Kiir swapped the ministries of defence and interior, taking defence to his political party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the interior ministry to Dr Machar’s SPLM-IO.

The SPLM-IO termed the presidential decrees “unilateral” and “a violation” of the revitalised peace agreement and demanded that Ms Teny be reinstated to her position. The peace agreement gives parties the power to remove their representatives in the council of ministers and nominate the replacements by notifying the president.

The meeting on the changes was initially planned for Thursday but was moved to Friday at the request of the president, an official in Mr Machar’s office told the BBC. An international body monitoring the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement has welcomed the announcement of the meeting.

The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) said it was encouraging “consultation to resolve the issue of the removal of the defence minister, and urge the parties to observe the letter and spirit of the revitalised agreement”.

–              A Tell / BBC / Sudan Tribune report  

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