By David Lumu
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) did not ask Uganda to withdraw her troops from South Sudan, Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa, has clarified.
Kutesa said that it is true that during the just concluded African Union summit, IGAD member states (Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti) had a meeting on the sidelines about South Sudan and what members discussed was far from the allegations in the press that the UPDF was asked to leave South Sudan.
Kutesa told a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kampala that IGAD members agreed that they cannot condone the unconstitutional removal of an elected government.
According to Kutesa, the member states agreed to combat impunity and hold accountable those responsible for committing atrocities, implement the cessation of hostilities, work on mechanism to release the remaining four detainees (Majak D'Agoot, Pagan Amum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, and Oyai Deng Ajak) and working out a disengagement mechanism for parallel forces in South Sudan and their allies.
“Now some section of the press had misinterpreted this (disengagement of forces) to mean that Ugandan forces should withdraw. That is far from the truth, it was not discussed in that IGAD meeting,” he said.
At the African Union summit, Kutesa said that the African Union Peace and Security Council members unanimously backed the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) position on South Sudan.
Explaining what the IGAD position means, Kutesa said that Ethiopia and Kenya are pushing for peace talks while Uganda intervened in South Sudan to ensure that the rebellion ends and peace talks happen.
The minister also stressed that the UPDF intervention in Juba was embraced by IGAD on December 27 last year.