News / Africa

South Sudan Unhappy With Rebel News Conference in Sudan

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (R) and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir look on during a photo opportunity at the state house in capital Juba Jan. 6, 2014.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir (R) and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir look on during a photo opportunity at the state house in capital Juba Jan. 6, 2014.
Peter Clottey
South Sudan’s presidential spokesman says Sudan is undermining the legitimacy of President Salva Kiir’s government and bilateral relations between the two nations after representatives of rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar were allowed to hold a news conference in the neighboring country during the weekend.

Ateny Wek Ateny also criticized Kenya for giving Macher a “red carpet preferential treatment” following his recent meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta as part of Nairobi’s effort to help resolve South Sudan’s conflict.

“For the government of Kenya to accord the rebel leader a red carpet is an insult to the sovereignty of South Sudan.  Opposition is not accorded the red carpet when they visit foreign countries,” said Ateny.  “If Raila Odinga [former Kenyan Prime Minster] comes to South Sudan we cannot give him a red carpet, why should Kenyan do that?  For us, it is an insult to the republic of South Sudan.”

“If the president of Kenya was hosting the rebel leader of South Sudan on the basis that he was a former vice president, then it would be William Ruto [Kenya’s vice president] should be doing that.” said Ateny.

Ateny said the preferential treatment given to Machar also insults South Sudan's citizens, since he contends the former vice president has taken up arms against a legitimately elected president.

“This is an attempt to undermine the legitimate government in Juba,” said Ateny.

Ateny’s comments followed a rebel delegation's news conference in neighboring Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.  The delegation was in Sudan as part of the preparations for an expected visit of Riek Machar to Sudan.

Some analysts say South Sudan overstated its protest citing the country’s constitution, which they said guarantees freedom of speech in the world’s newest nation.

Ateny admits freedom of expression is enshrined in the constitution, but argues Sudan should have prevented the rebel delegation from holding a news conference in its capital, Khartoum, since the group is at war with the administration in Juba.

“Article 24 of our constitution guarantees the freedom of expression inside the country here.  But this is the type of opposition that has taken [up] arms.  They use arms to try to change the government, so this is not a normal opposition,” said Ateny.          

The violence in South Sudan erupted after President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, accused former vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer, of attempting a coup.  Machar denied the accusation, but subsequently formed a rebel group to fight the administration in Juba.
Clottey interview with Ateny Wek Ateny, presidential spokesperson
Clottey interview with Ateny Wek Ateny, presidential spokespersoni
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by: yoyo from: yei
June 10, 2014 1:39 PM
What Ateng is doing is trying to frustrate peace efforts Riak is trying to achieve to bring peace. Please mr Ateng its not your concern and this clearly shows that there is no freedom of speech in the country. Its only peace we as citizens are crying for.


by: Lisa from: Tx
June 09, 2014 2:41 PM
Please, respect other country rather then insulting, you should know that some know what is going on in south Sudan. Not every country is against peace ,when kenyatta welcome Dr riek he notice that riek is for peace not war, let me tell you this ateny, however speak peace will be well respected. Your showing the whole world that your government is not for peace but full of hate. Facts non of south sudan in splm have spoken a bout peace apart from beleming Dr riek. If riek wanted war he would have been on ground making attacks on your bases, killing. but because of respect for human life he is calling for peace.

Why don't you ask kiir if he is really for peace, ask him to use his own and call for election now. that will show that he have some human feeling rather than the killings, the suffering of millions, having a UN compand protecting your own people from whom. This shows kiir weakness and lack of leadership, you can't have your people being refugees in their motherland. Shame on ateny for not advising kiir. If you don't have anything to say stop and stay stupid, because that is the law of stupidity under kiir's government.

In Response

by: Robins from: Juba
June 10, 2014 1:39 AM
"Ridiculous groups of lobby where stool billions dollars for South Sudan people,and blind fool Nuer community fought for them while the are life right now.However"If Nuer leaders are not been careful about those group it will be like first group whom rebel 1984 during the war.


by: Jeffrey Ngueny Deng from: Akobo,South Sudan
June 09, 2014 5:40 AM
What mr. Ateny is trying to said show to the world that there is no freedom of press in south sudan because he is trying to prevent Sudan from freeing it press to the rebels...........Shame on Ateny and his fail state


by: John Makusa from: Yei
June 09, 2014 3:20 AM
The person who is suspecios most of time is guilty in what he does therefore our government has killed its own citizens, thinking to remain on power.may the Almighty God give us the right goverment which can help its people.


by: David from: USA
June 09, 2014 1:02 AM
Ahahah! Ateng must have drink that liar ate. When did we have the freedom of speech? These childish ignorant Dinka leaders do not understand that the world knows what is happening inside their stupid leadership. If there is freedom of speech, why would you worry about Dr. Machar visiting neighbor countries. Why would that be your concern? If your stupid head won't remember, those whom your leader arrest for make up coupe are being release because there had never been any coupe at all. You one tribe government can take your stupidity Bhar-el ghazal we good without that illiterate government. No disrespect but you Ateny need to worry about to fix your mistake not Kenya or Sudan. Your corruption government gross. There is no for useless dictatorship. Thank you VOA.

In Response

by: tintong from: kenya
June 10, 2014 11:06 AM
Excuse me,mr.David or whoever! stop insulting Bhar el gazel you know nothing about it even the person your trying to support your fake prophet Dr.Riek who 've been tricking everyone in the wrong ways yet he has been there for the same playing his role as vice.And turn against government when he got sack, in the real sense what if those politicians fought back after being out of power? it show that these people are base on their interest not public need.

For your information ,president kiir has credit more than your counterfeit person you call 'Riek' without Kiir S.Sudan won't exist under your traitor groups who believe in fight rather than peace.Besides your comment by saying that Bhar el gazel's illiteracy its true because we were fighting to liberate you from Arab.


by: wnyin from: canada
June 08, 2014 9:47 PM
Your dreams to copy what rebels tried in Syria has come to a miserable end. Riel Machar with his admirers brought up a very dangerous example to South Sudanese, about how to seek and obtain leadership as he has shown by using deadly force, looting, rape and merciless massacres. Shame on Riek and his Khartoum backers. What he started will never be forgotten for generations to come and South Sudan will always, as the moon and the sun are still there, have real men to defend and inhabbit it.


by: Micah Torujo from: Washington
June 08, 2014 7:24 PM
Hey Ateny, do not lie. There is no freedom of expression in South Sudan. If there is a freedom of expression in South Sudan, This war should have started. Riek asked for reform but your goverment did not liked it and your goverment killed innocent Nuer and wanted to kill Riek. To cover up your goverment premeditated murder, your goverment made up a cenario of cup which no one believ it. We in great equatoria do not this goverment do not creat an excuse let the oppsition say what they want to say, since there is no freedom of expression in South Sudan.

In Response

by: Jeffrey Ngueny Deng from: Akobo,South Sudan
June 09, 2014 5:56 AM
That is a very clear evidence on south sudan is freedom of press, showing that we cannot express our views as rebels supporters

In Response

by: Micah Torujo from: Washingtone
June 09, 2014 1:20 AM
Hi I would like to rephrase what I said. I meant to say if there is freedom of expression in South Sudan, this war should NOT have started. Also we in greater Equatoria don't WANT this government.


by: Dragon Tonque from: Kampala
June 08, 2014 5:08 PM
Mr. Ateny should know that his government problem with the rebels is not the same problem to Kenyan or sudanese government!

Why do you want to choose who should be their friends?
By the way South Sudan government needs these two countries (Kenya and Sudan) for obvious reasons. Any misunderstanding with them can cause your vulnerable economy to cripple to the extent that you won't be able to receive even salaries!


by: iwa from: Nimule
June 08, 2014 4:20 PM
Its shamefull see and hear what Our Brother Kenya Is doing to South sudanese in the gouvernement Kenya has already Rebel against us.mr président where are looking,soon You Will be overtron by your Brother Kenya or sudan .take care


by: Tesloai Par Golong from: Kakuma
June 08, 2014 11:50 AM
this is not the case you can address mr Awek or what ever you call yourself. because spectrumically I can see u are accausing kenya for nothing despiting your violation of humanistic right, which is number one problem we left down on the ground.

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