January 14, 2017 (JUBA)- South Sudan says it will only accept the deployment of the United Nations Security Council-authorised regional protection force if a new resolution is passed, arguing that resolution under which the forces were to be deployed elapsed.

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South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, speaks to reporters in Jonglei state capital Bor on 25 December 2014 (ST)

The council of minister, during its Friday meeting, reportedly resolved that the period during which the deployment of the regional protection force should have been deployed had elapsed and that any deployment should be done under a new mandate.

“The UNSC resolution that authorised the force lapsed on December the 15th 2016. Unless the UN wants to deploy the force as part of normal UN force, their mandate must be legally unambiguous and up to date”, said South Sudan information minister, Michael Makuei.

The cabinet, official added, resolved after the weekly meeting that the UNSC needed to issue a new resolution to deploy the regional protection force in South Sudan.

Observers argued that the new demand is part of a strategy to justify initial rejection for deployment of regional protection force, which the government had long opposed.

Early this week, the acting head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Moustapha Soumaré said he met with the South Sudanese Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Martin Lumoro during which the latter assure that the young nation’s government’s position remains unchanged on the deployment of the regional forces.

The UN official had requested clarification on various press reports, which cited senior government officials saying government had changed its position on the deployment of the protection force.

Lomoro said government’s position was in line with the relevant Security Council resolutions that it would continue to facilitate the deployment of the regional force.

The Security Council, in its Resolution 2304, decided that UNMISS force levels be increased to a ceiling of 17,000 troops, including 4,000 for a regional protection force. UNMISS also confirmed that in preparation for the arrival of the protection force, it continues to be engaged in discussions with the coalition government as to the various modalities for the new force, including where they would be deployed.




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