South Sudan Peace Deal At Risk As Rebel Leader Refuses Return

The peace deal in South Sudan is at risk after the failure of rebel leader Riek Machar to return to the capital, Juba, the monitors who brokered the agreement have warned.

The government and rebels accused each other of hindering rebel leader Riek Machar’s return to the capital to form a unity government, with monitors of a peace deal warning the delay was putting the agreement at risk.

Machar was due to come back to Juba on April 18, but officials said on April 19 his arrival had been postponed indefinitely for “logistical” reasons. The US said it was disappointed by Mr Machar’s “willful decision” not to abide by his own commitments.

This is a key part of the deal aimed at ending the long conflict, Machar and his rival President Salva Kiir signed a peace agreement in August aimed at ending a two-year conflict in which thousands were killed and 2 million forced to flee their homes. But implementation has not been smooth.

The United States and the U.N. Security Council have both voiced concern over this latest setback. The body monitoring the peace deal, the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) also said it was worried.