The South Sudan government has finally agreed to allow a new international peacekeeping force to come in and attempt to save relations on a peace deal.
President Salva Kirr had earlier dismissed the idea of any additional force. The new international peacekeeping force would be in addition to the 12,000-strong UN mission already in South Sudan. the UN mission had however been unable to stave off the attacks.
The announcement about the new international peacekeeping force was made by the East African regional body, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and confirmed by South Sudan Cabinet Minister, Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro. When the proposal for a new unit in South Sudan was backed by the African Union, it was discussed at a meeting in Ethiopia of IGAD.
After the meeting, the South Sudan Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Martin Elia Lomuro had informed the BBC that further talks were needed to discuss the mandate, size and timeline for any force.
IGAD sources on the other hand have suggested that a new force should have a more far-reaching mandate than the existing peacekeeping mission. A view which was earlier voiced by AU Peace and Security Commissioner, Smail Chergui, while speaking at the AU summit in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali about the need to send in African troops.
He had said;
“The UN doesn’t have the mandate to impose peace…They are there where there is peace to keep. African troops are ready to engage in very difficult situations.”
He had also explained that the mission would be similar to the deployment of a 3,000- strong special force that took on the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2013.
The deployment of the international peacekeeping force seems like a step in the right direction, especially because rebel leader, Riek Machar’s spokesman, told AFP news agency in the wake of the latest fighting that “the only hope is a protection force”.
According to the BBC, newly appointed vice-president, Taban Deng, could step down from his position if Mr. Machar agreed to return to Juba to rejoin the transitional government.