The Crisis in South Sudan and Its Implications for Ethiopia
"Since 15 December 2013, soldiers loyal to the deposed Vice President, Dr.Riek Machar, have fought against President Salva Kiir’s loyalists in Juba in the vicinity of the Presidential palace. Emboldened by the rebels’ success in controlling Bor, the capital of Jonglei State under General Peter Gatdet, Dr. Riek Machar announced his wish to be the next leader of South Sudan after deposing the incumbent President; a move that further increased tensions in the country. As the conflict continued between the warring forces, it was reported that thousands of civilians had been killed and that hundreds of thousands had been displaced. The international community and regional organizations, including the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other concerned authorities, have been calling on the warring factions to show restraint and come to the negotiation table. Shortly after the conflict broke out on 19 December 2013, an IGAD ministerial delegation led by Ethiopia visited South Sudan to seek an end to the fighting. Signifying the grave nature of the crisis and possibly due to the challenges the ministerial mediation effort has faced, on 26 December 2013, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalgne and the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta travelled to Juba. The delegation of the ministers and heads of states met President Salva Kiir and urged both sides to engage in a dialogue. On 24 December 2013, Reuters News Agency reported that Dr Machar had requested President Kiir to release his ‘comrades’ who were under detention so that they could be evacuated to Addis Ababa as a precondition. Dr. Machar added that if the President met his demand they could begin their dialogue straight away. Rejecting the proposal for a meeting in Addis Ababa, the Juba government immediately insisted that dialogue needed to take place in Juba."