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Kiir Weighs Response as UN Security Council Votes to Send Troops to S. Sudan

FILE - A United Nations peacekeeper stands with displaced children on a wall around the United Nations base in the capital Juba, South Sudan.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir is leaving it to parliament to decide whether to accept or reject a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the deployment of 4,000 foreign troops to the country. The United Nations Security Council on authorized the additional troops Friday.

The U.S.-drafted resolution also threatens an arms embargo if South Sudan does not accept the deployment.

The troops would be sent to the capital, Juba, and authorized to use all necessary means, including undertaking “robust action where necessary,” to enforce their mandate.

Kiir says his government will negotiate with the international community to ensure the country’s sovereignty is not comprised.

In a Council of Ministers meeting chaired by Kiir Sunday, South Sudan’s cabinet failed to agree on a response to the United Nations resolution.

Kiir told lawmakers Monday that the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU) will vote on the matter but did not say when.

President Kiir said if the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, and the U.N. send troops to South Sudan to secure peace in the capital, it should be done in consultation with his government.

“Assistance requires dialogue. It should not turn into an imposition that becomes to an intervention in which our sovereignty is compromised and our ability to govern effectively diminishes rather than increases,” Kiir said.

FILE - A UN armoured personnel vehicle stands in a refugee camp in Juba South Sudan.
FILE - A UN armoured personnel vehicle stands in a refugee camp in Juba South Sudan.

He also said certain government officials who have commented on the matter are not necessarily expressing the views of his government.

The president said he worries about the dire humanitarian conditions facing citizens across the country.

“I always have a sleepless night and spend every moment of day thinking about South Sudan child in the village," he said. "I think it is the duty of this house because all the members, it is now your turn to talk to these people to come out from the POCs and go back to their villages. There is nothing they are doing there.”

A South Sudanese legal expert says the U.N. resolution to send an intervention force to South Sudan will help the country solve the political instability in the country.

Remember Miamingi, a professor in the law department at the University of Pretoria, said the U.N. has a good track record of restoring law and order in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and it would behoove South Sudanese officials to cooperate with the U.N. to avoid a backlash from the international community.

“The government is reacting to a situation that is absolutely not what is being described. Let’s look at Sierra Leone in 1999," he said. "It was a mandate in terms of peacekeeping, but also a mandate of peace building.”

Miamingi said Sierra Leone had 17,500 peacekeeping troops which supported the national elections as well as security sector reforms.

The new force, to be made up of troops from African countries, will bring the total U.N. peacekeeping force in South Sudan to about 17,000, which will be the largest in the world.

John Tanza contributed to this report from Washington.