Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, has expressed his despair over South Sudan ever seeing peace. Mogae is currently the chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) for South Sudan. Quoting the Associated Press (AP), the Sudan Tribune reported on Monday that Mogae had accused both President Salva Kiir and former first vice president Dr Riek Machar of lacking the political will to work together for peace in the world’s newest country. “There is no political will to implement the peace agreement. They (Kiir and Machar) are bent on a military solution, not political solution,” said Mogae. “I am more disillusioned or less optimistic than before. I thought that common logic could persuade them to do the right thing,” said the ex-Botswana leader.
Mogae’s comments followed JMEC’s declaration that it would work with the controversially-appointed first vice president Taban Deng Gai. Gai was appointed by Kiir to replace Machar, who is also the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO), after the opposition leader first went into hiding and then fled the country claiming his life was in danger. Machar fled after clashes between government forces and his armed followers in July. He first crossed the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with the help of Kinshasa, before being airlifted by the United Nations to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum for medical treatment. Mogae, however, said Gai’s appointment would add little weight to efforts aimed at realising peace in South Sudan. “Although the legitimacy of Taban Deng Gai as First Vice President is questionable, diplomats will work with him because they don’t have an option,” Mogae told AP.
Meanwhile, the US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, is currently in Sudan. On Monday Booth visited the Blue Nile State, reported the US State Department. As he did in his July 26-28 visit to Darfur, Booth planned to engage with a range of people in Blue Nile State affected by conflict. He met with Sudanese government officials, civil society, community leaders, and the staff of international organisations and looked forward to open discussion and unimpeded exchanges. “The United States remains deeply committed to the Sudanese people. Through visits like this, the Special Envoy will continue to engage constructively with the Government of Sudan and all parties to realise inclusive dialogue and a peaceful and stable Sudan,” said the State Department. [ANA]