The United Nations has denied reports in a Kenyan newspaper that there are plans afoot to place South Sudan under U.N. trusteeship.
The East African newspaper reported last weekend that the U.N. Security Council has drafted a plan to do just that if IGAD – the East African group that has been mediating peace talks for South Sudan for the past 11 months - is unable to rapidly secure a deal to end the fighting.
The paper quoted Kenya’s cabinet secretary for foreign affairs and international trade, Amina Mohamed, as saying that the U.N. proposal was drafted prior to a November 7 IGAD summit in Ethiopia.
The East African says the United States and two other members of the Security Council are behind the trusteeship proposal. But U.S. officials at the U.N. told VOA they are not involved in any discussions about placing South Sudan under U.N. trusteeship.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, also dismissed the report, saying it was "completely false and not true."
"The Secretary General wants to make it categorically clear that neither he nor the U.N. Mission in South Sudan is aware of any plan or discussion within the United Nations to take such a course of action,” he said.
Ban's special representative for South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Loej, said in a statement early this week that the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is not aware of or involved in "any plans or discussions within the United Nations to take such a course of action."
"The United Nations has no tradition of making independent, sovereign countries protectorates. The principles of South Sudan's sovereignty and independence are consistently underlined by the Security Council in its resolutions on the mandate of UNMISS," the statement said.
In January, President Salva Kiir accused the United Nations of seeking to take over South Sudan and speculated that UNMISS may have pushed his political rival, former vice president Riek Machar, to rise up against the government. Mr. Kiir dialed back his accusations a few days later.
No death toll has been released since fighting broke out a year ago in South Sudan, but the U.N. said early in the conflict that at least 10,000 people have been killed. Nearly two million have fled their homes because of the unrest, including more than 200,000 who are sheltering in U.N. compounds around the country.