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PRESS BRIEFING BY HON. SAM K. KUTESA, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, REGARDING SOUTH SUDAN

Wednesday, 19th February 2014
Hon Sam Kutesa with the Ministers of State at a Press Briefing PRESS BRIEFING BY HON. SAM K. KUTESA, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, REGARDING SOUTH SUDAN:
18 FEBRUARY, 2014

Members of the Press,

As you are all aware, South Sudan is still a nascent state having attained independence two and a half years ago, in July 2011. This followed a protracted struggle against conditions imposed by the Government of Sudan.

The country is still grappling with old and new challenges; such as: lack of tangible progress on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) outstanding issues; limited infrastructure; and the building of state institutions. It is against this background that the situation on 15th December, 2013 erupted.

As I informed you last time, Uganda was invited by the legitimate and democratically elected Government of South Sudan, to secure critical infrastructure and installations, as the security situation was deteriorating. It should be noted that, the deployment of the UPDF is in conformity with the Constitution of Uganda and is in not in violation of international law.

Imperative to Deploy

The decision for Uganda¡¯s deployment was also informed by;

•    The urgent need to prevent a potentially genocidal situation which was arising from the crisis;

•    Assist the Government of South Sudan open humanitarian corridors to allow passage for food and other relief supplies; and

•    The evacuation of thousands of Ugandans and other foreign nationals including Americans, Chinese, Ethiopians etc.

It is also important to note that our deployment was to help close a security vacuum which was being created by the crisis, and had the potential to facilitate LRA activities, and infiltrating back into Uganda.

As you now know, Uganda¡¯s engagement resulted into the stabilization of the security. It has also contributed to a conducive environment for the continuing peace talks in Addis Ababa.

Decisions by IGAD, AU and the UN

Uganda is a member state of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and therefore fully subscribes and supports the ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa under the mediation of IGAD. This peace process was initiated by the IGAD Heads of State and Government who held an Extra-Ordinary Session on 27th December, 2013, in Nairobi to discuss the situation in South Sudan.

In part, the communiqué++ of the Heads of State commended the efforts of the Republic of Uganda in securing critical infrastructure and installations in South Sudan, and pledged its support to these efforts.

On 20th December, 2013, the United Nations Security Council, welcomed the IGAD Ministerial Group¡¯s swift initiative to visit Juba, and on 30th December 2013, the Council, reiterated their support to IGAD efforts to bring peace and also welcomed the IGAD Heads of State and Government Nairobi Summit.

Uganda supports the AU Peace and Security Council decision of January 2014 that reaffirmed its principled position on the total rejection of unconstitutional changes of Government and of any attempt to seize power by force.

The Summit also decided on Africa¡¯s quest for "African-led solutions to African problems, with the international community providing complementary support¡± by agreeing on the, African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis (ACIRC).This is an outfit that would rapidly respond to crises, as and when they erupt on the continent. It is a transitional mechanism pending the creation of the African Standby Force.

In its Press Statement of 13 February, 2014, and in line with the IGAD Communiqué of 31st January, 2014, the United Nations Security Council, among other things, called for the redeployment and/or progressive withdrawal of allied forces in South Sudan.

Uganda¡¯s proposal going forward

Uganda has no desire to keep her troops on South Sudan soil longer than it is necessary. It is in that context that Uganda has proposed, and the Government of South Sudan agrees, on the deployment of ACIRC, consistent with the decision of the AU in January last month.

The deployment of ACIRC in South Sudan will facilitate Uganda¡¯s progressive withdrawal and/or redeployment. The AU Peace and Security is expected to meet at an appropriate time, to work out modalities for deployment of ACIRC in South Sudan. Thereafter, the countries that have voluntarily pledged capacity to ACIRC may then provide such support.

We believe that the deployment of ACIRC is the most logical way to withdraw from South Sudan, without leaving a security vacuum that that can be taken advantage of. We further believe that a political solution will bring about lasting and sustainable peace to this young and sisterly Nation of South Sudan.


MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
KAMPALA

18 FEBRUARY, 2014



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