KAMPALA, Uganda — A rebel leader in South Sudan said Tuesday he would not return to his country because the government has violated a peace accord signed last August.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni should use his influence with South Sudan’s government to ensure the agreement is implemented, rebel leader Riek Machar told reporters in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
Machar is currently in Uganda to consult with Museveni, who deployed Ugandan special forces to back President Salva Kiir at the start of the conflict in December 2013.
“I want to start a new chapter of peace and friendship,” Machar reportedly told Museveni during the meeting on Monday night, according to a statement from Uganda’s presidency.
Kiir recently announced the creation of 28 new states from the original 10, a move Machar says is against the peace accord.
Both Kiir and Machar face international pressure to implement the deal, which calls for a transitional government of national unity under which Machar would serve as the first vice president.
A U.N. panel of experts says in a new report that the rivals, who missed a Friday deadline to form a power-sharing government, should both be sanctioned because their troops have targeted civilians.
South Sudan will not receive any loans from the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank until its warring leaders form the transitional government, the U.S. ambassador to South Sudan said Tuesday.
“Without the transitional government of national unity, this country will not be eligible for IMF support, will not be eligible for World Bank support,” Mary Catherine Phee said in a town hall event for American citizens.
The country is at a “very grave juncture” because the transitional government has not been formed, she said.
South Sudan’s oil-dependent economy has been crippled by a steep drop in crude prices worldwide. The war damaged oil-pumping facilities, cutting production by about half.
Despite a shortfall of cash, both sides continue to try to procure weapons, with the government seeking to purchase four attack helicopters, according to the new report by a U.N. panel of experts.
Patinkin reported from Juba, South Sudan
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