President Yoweri Museveni has reechoed his reluctance to pull the UPDF Forces out of South Sudan before relative peace is established therein.
Museveni said yesterday that the national forces would be withdrawn out of South Sudan but only after regional forces [IGAD] secures the capital Juba from rebel attack.
The fighting in the neighboring country is now entered the second year having broken out on December 15 2013, between Riek Machar’s rebel group SPLA –IO against government forces SPLA, only two years after Juba declared independence from Khartoum,
Uganda quickly came in for rescue, fighting on the side of SPLA, apparently on request of President Salva Kiir, amidst widespread contestation from the rebels.
Several peace-talks efforts in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa have been futile on grounds of mistrust, as Machar’s camp demanded Uganda’s urgent withdrawal.
President Museveni yesterday told a press conference in Addiss Ababa, that Uganda is not in a hurry to pull its forces out of South Sudan.
“The problem is not with Uganda. The problem is peace among South Sudanese, and in order to not leave a vacuum we agreed that other IGAD countries should deploy and now they are deploying,” he said.
Museveni spoke alongside Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Addis Ababa, where he arrived for a two-day state visit.
“I think Ethiopian forces are already there (in South Sudan), and Rwanda is there. Once they are ready, and can ensure that at least Juba is not affected … then we shall go back. There is no big issue.”
The United Nations says the civil war has killed more than 10,000 people, caused over a million to flee and driven the country of 11 million toward famine.
Regional efforts led by neighboring Ethiopia to find a peaceful solution to the conflict have made limited gains amid bouts of fighting, despite Kiir and Machar signing a ceasefire in January and then again in May.
The warring parties re-committed to stop fighting and bring their conflict to an end without conditions in November, but sporadic bouts of fighting resumed swiftly after the latest agreement.