Cover Story

Dr. MACHAR Demands to be relocated to Ethiopia

Dr. Riek Machar with members of the IGAD Council of Ministers on Wednesday (photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia):

By Jale Richard, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The former First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar demanded that the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) relocate him to Ethiopia to enable him follow the ongoing peace process.

In an exclusive interview with Juba Monitor yesterday, a close aide to Dr. Riek Machar Teny said that the former vice president had questioned the decision by IGAD to release him with conditions.

This comes after the IGAD Council of Ministers met Dr. Machar on Wednesday in Pretoria, South Africa to seek for his views about the peace process.

The IGAD Council of Ministers in March said they would release Machar from South Africa on condition that he denounces violence and accepts to be relocated to another country not bordering South Sudan.

However, his close aide said Dr. Machar would only accept to be released without conditions.

“When I asked him about the intention of IGAD to relocate him he told me he can only go to Ethiopia or he stays in South Africa because it is better to live with the devil you know than the angel you don’t know,” the source said.

The aide told Juba Monitor that Dr. Machar would either stay in South Africa or be relocated to Ethiopia because the two countries, according to Machar had good justice system.

“The worry is if he is released and relocated to another country with corrupt justice system you never know what would happen. Some people may start a flowed legal case against him to deport him back to South Sudan,” he told Juba Monitor.

The spokesperson of the Sudanese foreign ministry Gharib Allah Khidir in a statement on Wednesday said they discussed with Machar the IGAD’s resolution to move him to another country and his views on the country preferred him to be relocated to Ethiopia.

The delegation also listened to Machar’s ideas on the structure of the government institutions, the parliament and the number of states in South Sudan.

“Dr. Machar expressed his desire to be unconditionally free in his movement and his choice, preferring to continue residing in South Africa despite his inability to circulate or communicate, until he gets a better decision than the offered one,” said the statement.

According to the office of the Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister in a statement released on Wednesday, IGAD Council of Ministers met Machar in a bid to expedite South Sudan’s Peace Process.

“The IGAD Council of Ministers met and discussed on Wednesday in Pretoria with Dr. Riek Machar, Chair of SPLM/IO on moving forward the South Sudanese Peace process,” a statement from the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry read.

The meeting is part of the Shuttle diplomacy by the IGAD Council of Ministers to bridge the gap between the parties to the peace forum –the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF). The HLRF opens today with the parties hoping to bridge the gap on issues of governance and security arrangement.

The peace talks resumed yesterday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The parties are hoping to bridge the gaps that rendered the last phase in February largely unsuccessful.



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