Juba says President Kiir being treated like "school boy”

From: Berhane Habtemariam <>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2015 00:09:40 +0200
September 21, 2015 (JUBA) – Government of South Sudan said the reason president Salva Kiir will not travel to New York to attend summit by the United Nations General Assembly is because he has been treated like a "school boy" by the world body and will instead delegate his deputy, James Wani Igga, to represent him at the event in protest.
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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (AFP)

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, on 10 September officially informed the rival leaders in the South Sudan’s 20-month long civil war, president Kiir and armed opposition leader, Riek Machar, to attend a high profile summit of the UN General Assembly on 29 September by heads of states and governments from around the world.

The opposition leader, Machar, announced he would lead his delegation and attend the New York summit.

However, government’s minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, told Sudan Tribune last week that president Kiir will not travel and will rather delegate his deputy to attend the world summit on South Sudan. He fell short of explaining the reason behind the decision.

But information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, on Friday revealed to reporters in Juba that the decision was made in protest of how their president was being treated by the world body, complaining that the world has reduced president Kiir to a “school boy.”

He also said president Kiir was given a short notice to travel to New York, despite the information which indicated that there was a gap of 18 days between the notice and the day of the summit in New York.

"You cannot just invite a president and give him short notice like a school boy to come and attend your meetings,” Makuei angrily told reporters in the capital, Juba.

The minister also predicted that it would be difficult for the United States government to give visas to many of the president Kiir’s officials who may travel with him to the UN summit as another reason for the protest in order to avoid “embarrassment.”

"Going to America, as you know is a problem, in terms of visa. Yes they can give the president the visa, but they can obstruct the going of others who are accompanying the president. So in order to avoid all this embarrassment, the vice-president James Wani Igga is going to attend," he stressed.

The summit will be the first high profile world meeting of top leaders to galvanize support to the full implementation of the peace agreement signed in August by the warring parties in South Sudan.

Opposition leader, Machar, also said he would meet president Kiir in New York on the sidelines of the UN summit to be organized by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon. It is not however clear whether this meeting will take place if president Kiir will not travel to attend the world gathering on South Sudan.

Observers have argued that by refusing to attend the UN summit on his country in New York, president Kiir will be making yet another diplomatic mistake similar to the time he refused to sign the peace agreement on 17 August in Addis Ababa.

Other sources, however, speculate that the president had been reluctant to leave South Sudan in fear of anti-peace senior political and military leaders who might overthrow him in his absence and wants to monitor the situation at home.

Received on Mon Sep 21 2015 - 18:09:41 EDT

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