New York/Juba, February 13, 2016 (SSNA) — The Spokesman for the United Nations (UN) Stephane Dujarric says the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) welcomes South Sudanese President Salva kiir’s decision to appoint rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar as first Vice President of South Sudan.
Dujarric, who is the Spokesperson for the UN’s Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, says the Kiir’s decree to appoint Machar is “an important step,” saying it is a right step in the implementation of peace and the formation of an interim government.
“The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) welcomes yesterday’s announcement by President Kiir of the appointment of Riek Machar as First Vice President of South Sudan. This is an important step in the formation of the Transitional Government and the implementation of the peace agreement,” a statement reads in part.
The UN urges South Sudan’s rebel leader to go to Juba so that a transitional government can be formed and address other peace-related issues that are needed to fully implement the power-sharing deal.
“The Mission [UNMISS] urges Mr. Machar to return to Juba, in order for the Transitional Government to be established as quickly as possible and outstanding issues delaying the implementation of the agreement be addressed,” UN says.
The UN also states that it concerned by reports of continuous fighting, tensions between rival forces in Upper Nile state, and violence between South Sudanese communities in Jonglei State.
The UN added that the main responsibility of the upcoming transitional government would be to protect civilians ‘within its borders’.
Rebels raise some concerns over the appointment of Machar
Rebel leader Machar says he is surprised after learning that Kiir appointed him, but says he welcomes the appointment. However, the armed opposition chief asserts that he is willing to go to Juba and take up his old position but only if South Sudanese capital is demilitarized.
“If the demilitarization that is supposed to take place in Juba is done and the troops are deployed including the Joint Integerated Police that will take over the security arrangements, I think we can implement the peace agreement,” Machar told the BBC.
Meanwhile, most rebel supporters have been critical of the appointment of their leader, claiming on social media sites that the decree is simply confirming the August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) and that those who think Kiir appointed Machar are wrong.
Machar’s supporters cite incompletion of amendments of the constitution as one of their concerns and accuse government of using “delaying tactics” to keep the old constitution to allow Kiir to rule by decrees. The SPLM/A-IO’s base also wants Kiir to revoke his 28 states expansion scheme, saying it violates the power-sharing deal.
Kiir appointed Machar on Thursday and demanded that the rebel leader report to Juba within seven days. The armed opposition says South Sudan’s president has no legal authority to order Machar to report to Juba and called Kiir’s move “meaningless.”