UN mission says ready to assist in solving S. Sudan's standoff if requested

Li Jiayao

JUBA, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said on Thursday that it is willing to provide assistance when requested in solving the ongoing standoff between the government and the former Army (SPLA) Chief of General Staff Paul Malong.

UNMISS spokesperson Daniel Dickinson told Xinhua that the world body considers this standoff an internal matter for the South Sudanese, but UNMISS is ready to provide assistance if requested by both sides.

"UNMISS considers this an internal matter for the South Sudanese. The Mission is calling on all involved parties to resolve the situation peacefully.UNMISS is ready to provide assistance if requested by both sides," Dickinson, who did not disclose further details, said in Juba.

He added that the mission is calling on all involved parties to resolve the situation peacefully.

General Malong, who was sacked in May, is under house arrest after he disobeyed President Salva Kiir's order to withdraw about 30 of his bodyguards and retain three.

The general's home, which neighbors the State House, is guarded and patrolled by hundreds of soldiers mounting tanks on the pretext he may escape from his detention to fight the government.

Minister of information Michael Makuei on Tuesday said they were still giving room for further contacts and intervention to avoid military confrontation with the former army chief.

The United States Department of the Treasury indicted and effected asset freeze for the former army chief and other two senior ranking officers.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Kiir and his former deputy turned rebel chief Riek Machar led to split within the SPLA, leaving soldiers to fight alongside ethnic lines between the two major ethnic groups Dinka and Nuer, to which the two rivals belong respectively.

The 2015 peace agreement to end the conflict was weakened after outbreak of renewed fighting in July 2016 caused the SPLA-in opposition rebel leader Machar to flee the capital.


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