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Wife of S. Sudan Rebel Leader: Country Needs New Political Process


FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (L) and his wife Angelina Teny joke in front of their tent in a rebel-controlled area in Jonglei State, South Sudan, Jan. 31, 2014.

The wife of South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar says a 2015 deal to end the country's conflict can be "resuscitated" if the sides move to review and possibly change the agreement.

Angelina Teny, a member of the SPLA-In-Opposition's political bureau, is in Washington this week to meet with members of the diaspora, analysts and policy makers.

Speaking to VOA's "South Sudan in Focus" program, Teny said African countries have “taken a side” in the conflict between President Salva Kiir's government and the opposition.

She said this leaves no space for a political process that reviews the 2015 peace deal, including the ceasefire arrangements and the transitional security arrangements.

“We have been saying that there is still a chance for this agreement to be resuscitated but there is a need for a political process in order to bring back the agreement,” she said.

“And this political process, there is need to create that environment so that this agreement also itself is reviewed. What is it that went wrong? What is it that didn’t work ...?” asked Teny.

FILE - A group of South Sudanese government soldiers sit on the back of a pickup truck in Malakal, South Sudan, Oct. 16, 2016. Angelina Teny, wife of South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar says, the “politics of isolation” are working against the interest of peace in her country.
FILE - A group of South Sudanese government soldiers sit on the back of a pickup truck in Malakal, South Sudan, Oct. 16, 2016. Angelina Teny, wife of South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar says, the “politics of isolation” are working against the interest of peace in her country.

‘Politics of isolation’

Riek Machar, former first vice president and husband of Teny, fled South Sudan after fighting broke out in Juba in July. Teny fled the country at the same time.

Machar went to the Democratic Republic of Congo, then to Sudan and most recently South Africa for medical treatment.

Teny says Machar is residing in South Africa on a visa that is valid until the end of January. She referred questions about the circumstances regarding his stay in the country to South African officials.

In an emailed statement Wednesday, South Africa’s department of International Relations and Cooperation said its government is “taking care of [Machar]” and is committed to working in the interest of peace with the government and people of South Sudan.

In her first interview since violence erupted in Juba, Teny said the “politics of isolation” are working against the interest of peace.

She said this month’s assembly summit of the regional bloc IGAD “totally ignored that there is another party called IO and implies that IO is Taban.”

Taban is Taban Deng Gai, who replaced Machar as South Sudan's first vice president. She downplayed the role and influence of the new VP, saying the war has not stopped on his watch.

“In fact, the war has escalated even worse,” said Teny.

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