South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei has lashed out at the United States, Britain, and Norway, accusing them of controlling South Sudan’s peace process.
Speaking Wednesday in Juba, Makuei said the East Africa bloc IGAD, the official mediator of the process, is not truly running the high-level forum in Addis Ababa aimed at reviving a collapsed 2015 peace deal.
He said the agenda is dictated by the United States, Britain and Norway, known as the Troika countries. “Troika and the EU, who are funding the peace process, are actually the ones in the driving seat because he who pays the piper calls the tune," Makuei said.
IGAD officials did not respond to calls from VOA for comment.
South Sudan has been mired in conflict between President Salva Kiir's government forces and rebel groups since December 2013. Violence has displaced about four million people and left much of the country in a humanitarian emergency.
Makuei also said the Kiir adminstration rejects an IGAD proposal of having four vice presidents in a transitional government and a proposal to dissolve certain government institutions and establish new ones.
“South Sudan is not a test case where [you can] bring any principle and come and test here," he said. "South Sudan is not a company, so that power sharing is 51- 49 percent. South Sudan is a sovereign state and it has the right to decide on its own issues and nobody from outside will ever come and impose on us whatever he thinks,” Makuei said.
The information minister, who has been sanctioned by the United States for allegedly threatening the peace, security, and stability of South Sudan, also said any proposal that removes Kiir from office is a non-starter.
In January, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called Kiir's government "an unfit partner" for any country seeking peace in South Sudan.
“The Troika and the EU are not just supporting the opposition because they like them, but they want them to dance to their tune. That is why they declared President Salva as an unfit partner because he did not accept and implement what they want,” Makuei told reporters.
He also said targeted sanctions and an arms embargo will not shake the government or compel it to sign an imposed peace agreement.
Makuei’s latest remarks could be seen as a violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement signed by South Sudan’s government and various stakeholders in December last year. An article in the accord states, "The Parties shall not carry out unwarranted verbal attacks ... against any entity associated with the implementation of this Agreement."