News / Africa

Uganda Playing Critical ‘Role’ to Solve South Sudan Conflict

A South Sudanese government soldier stands with others near their vehicles, after government forces on Friday retook from rebel forces the provincial capital of Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan, Sunday, Jan 12, 2014.
A South Sudanese government soldier stands with others near their vehicles, after government forces on Friday retook from rebel forces the provincial capital of Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan, Sunday, Jan 12, 2014.
Peter Clottey
Uganda’s foreign ministry spokesman says the country is playing a critical role in regional efforts to resolve South Sudan’s security situation, despite criticism that the government in Kampala is undermining ongoing peace negotiations between warring factions in Ethiopia.

Fred Opolot says Uganda’s opposition groups are politically shortsighted in their criticism of the role the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) is playing in support of President Salva Kiir’s government in Juba.

“The UPDF has been in South Sudan for years even way before this current conflict. Riek Machar knows it, and Ugandans know it. So, really their comments are not helpful,” said Opolot.

South Sudan’s former vice president Riek Machar accused the UPDF of supporting troops loyal to President Salva Kiir in the conflict. But, Opolot denies that Kampala’s support for Mr. Kiir is thwarting peace negotiations.

“Uganda’s role is not undermining the peace negotiations. In fact Uganda’s role in South Sudan has ensured the protagonists are actually engaging each other,” said Opolot. “Really, if Uganda has transgressed any international protocol, first and foremost IGAD (a regional group) I am sure would have brought Uganda to order. But Uganda is seen as a facilitator of the current process in South Sudan albeit the continued fighting.”

Uganda opposition groups say the UPDF role in supporting the government in Juba could subject citizens trapped in South Sudan to reprisal attacks. But, Opolot disagreed.

“I really hope not because the UPDF went into South Sudan with three objectives, first and foremost to evacuate it citizens, secondly to ensure that [there is] humanitarian access in areas of the conflict is clear, thirdly to ensure that the strategic facilities in South Sudan are safe and that obviously is by the invitation of South Sudanese government,” said Opolot.

He urged allies of Mr. Machar to raise their concerns about Uganda’s presence in South Sudan to mediators at the ongoing peace negotiations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Opolot also refuted criticism by some that Uganda’s strong backing of the government is hurting efforts aimed at bringing about a ceasefire.  He says Uganda’s efforts are firmly in support of regional objectives to end the conflict. 

“Uganda has not been partisan at all,” said Opolot. “The government of South Sudan is dealing with the government of Uganda. Before Uganda went to South Sudan on invitation by the government there, heads of state of IGAD met and acknowledged Uganda’s role in South Sudan. If there were to be dissatisfaction of Uganda’s role, I’m pretty sure that the IGAD members would bring Uganda to book.”

Opolot says Uganda’s effort in trying to find a solution to the conflict in South Sudan has the support from both regional leaders as well as the United Nations.
Clottey interview with Fred Opolot, Uganda foreign ministry spokesman
Clottey interview with Fred Opolot, Uganda foreign ministry spokesmani
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Julius mbetta from: Uganda
January 23, 2014 2:48 AM
Uganda we should not give any help to sauth sudan according how they have been touchering us ugandans in sauth sudan let them solve thier problems. And now if Riek wins this war that means we ugandans we wiil never go barck to sauth sudan because we have sawn our side.

by: Anonymous
January 21, 2014 10:12 PM
One who depicts a one sided support of one tribe one tribe against another as responsible in very naive indeed. Uganda junta support for Kiir is far from responsible. Promoting a dictator who is resiting reform within SPLM with troops to kill his own people is foolhardy. All sources have indicated the coup was a made up excuse by Kiir to quash opposition. It is not a wild imagination to assume the plot was hatched by Kiir and Museveni + allies who were afraid of a free and fair democratic election in 2015 after reforms that could have included opponents that had significant strength to defeat Kiir their puppet. With the Museveni's used in Uganda one can only get a clique that rigs elections, clings to power and creates only one person with the so called "vision for a nation". Something you also see in Rwanda. It the plot succeeds it will be the same story in South Sudan, though that seems unlikely at this point. Museveni militia will be forced out of S-Sudan sooner than later. The other regional nations in IGAD can easily see through his posturing. Uganda and all other nations can benefit best from a well governed S-Sudan with a transparent democracy and respect for human dignity for all, but not a gun totting regime depending on militia of well known regional war lords that have precedent of causing chaos in the region and plunder.

by: Anonymous
January 21, 2014 1:34 PM
Museveni miltia is in the war to side with a puppet they can manipulate. It is utter nonsense to depict Uganda unilateral involvement as good in the long term. Soon the forces will be resisted, it is a set up for a protracted war. Ethiopia, Kenya can help find a political solution. The Uganda/Rwanda gun totting juntas only know violence. They failed in DRC, there is no reason to believe they can do any better in S Sudan
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 21, 2014 3:39 PM
It could have been worse if Uganda and others weren't so responsible and decisive , critics like you have nothing to contribute .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs