South Sudan govt slams IGAD mediators as ‘dictators’
The official spokesman of the South Sudanese government has slammed the East African IGAD mediators criticizing them as ‘dictators’ who unwisely sought to threaten a sovereign state and pressure it into signing an unfavourable peace agreement.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting Michael Makuei, who doubles as the official government spokesman, addressed a press conference in Addis Ababa on Saturday amid faltering peace talks.
Both he and his boss President Salva Kiir have called on the Chairman of IGAD Hailemariam Desalegn to disregard a 17 August deadline set by peace mediators for signing a deal between the warring parties, saying the peace process should not be rushed.
On the other hand, the IGAD special envoys including the chief mediators Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin have called on the government to sign a deal on 17 August.
Makuei responded to this saying, “Negotiation is a process it is not an event. You don’t say: ‘By this time you must do this’. It is not an event, it is a process.”
He criticized the current deadline and previous efforts by IGAD to set deadlines in the negotiations process. Makuei said the mediators cannot “impose an agreement which is not yet accepted and owned by the parties.”
“If you try to impose whatever on the parties, I don’t know who is going to implement it. If it is a negotiation I don’t see any reason why should the mediators move out from their role of mediators and they become dictators,” said the government spokesman.
“There is no way a mediator would dictate and say, ‘You must do this.’ If you… use the language of threats – then you are no longer the mediator.”
“A mediator is supposed to harmonize between positions,” he said. He later added, “South Sudan is a sovereign state. There is no way a member state [of IGAD] will be threatened by another member state.”
Seyoum Mesfin ‘loses credibility’
“I’m disappointed by the statement made by the chief mediator. The chief mediator who threatened that if the parties are not signing on the 17th that they will apply ‘Plan B.’ This is a real disappointing statement, it is not a statement of a mediator and he loses he credibility as a mediator.”
“And not that only, but even disappointing to the IGAD that appointed him to mediate. It is even a disappointment to the Ethiopian government and the people of Ethiopia who have decided to host us here.”
“We have been attending so many mediations. But not in this way,” Makuei concluded.