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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs