South Sudan Accepts Deployment of Extra 4,000 UN Troops

  • Nation says will vet countries providing soldiers, armament
  • Government minister says may not require all peace keepers

South Sudan accepted the deployment of 4,000 troops to the United Nations mission in the country and agreed to lift all restrictions on the peace keepers as well as allow the free movement for humanitarian workers, a government official said.

The government of South Sudan will also work with the African Union to establish a court to try crimes committed since December when violence broke out in the nation, Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia Lomoro told reporters on Sunday in the capital, Juba.

“The transitional government of national unity gave its consent for the deployment,” Lomoro said.

A UN Security Council delegation arrived in South Sudan on Sept. 2, three weeks after the body approved 4,000 extra regional peace keepers for the world’s youngest country. Resurgent violence since December killed tens of thousands of people and uprooted 2 million from their homes, threatening a return to all-out civil war.

Conditional Consent

In a vote on August 12, the council renewed the UN Mission’s mandate and increased the number of peace keepers in the oil-producing nation to 17, 000. The UN said it would consider an arms embargo if the South Sudanese government objected to deployment of the force.

A transitional government between President Salva Kiir and ex-rebel leader Riek Machar, designed to end the conflict, was thrown into turmoil in July when another round of violence between forces loyal to them left at least 270 people dead. Machar fled Juba and is currently in neighboring Sudan. He said he will only return to Juba if regional forces are deployed.

The consent was conditional, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters in Juba on Monday. South Sudan would need to know what countries would be contributing troops, how long the soldiers would remain in the country and what weapons they would have.

“That consent does not mean automatic entrance into South Sudan,” Lueth said. “We need to know what are these contributing countries, we need to know the size because that 4,000 is the ceiling but we are not duty bound, we can negotiate and even agree on 10.”

South Sudan can reject deployment of soldiers from a country it’s not comfortable with, Lomoro said at the same press conference Monday.

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