The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has started to withdrawal soldiers who were on an informal peace keeping mission in South Sudan for the past 22months, Hon Henry Okello Oryem Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation has said.
In a press statement released today, Okello Oryem said that the withdrawal is in fulfilment of IGAD Mediated Agreement of 17th August 2015 in Addis Ababa, in which Uganda is one of the guarantors of the peace process in South Sudan.
“Uganda today announces the beginning of the withdrawal of UPDF from South Sudan,” he said.
Adding; “As one of the guarantors to the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement, and following the requirement of Chapter II, Article 1.5…on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan that requires security actors allied to either party in the conflict in South Sudan to withdraw from the country within forty five days, UPDF has with immediate effect from today started to pull out of South Sudan.”
He said that during the stay in S. Sudan, Uganda has achieved a number of objectives including; Protection of vital and strategic installations like airports and the capital, Juba, Providing security of persons and property, Successfully evacuated Ugandans and other foreign nationals whose lives were at risk, Created conditions necessary for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians, Managed to stop genocide, Maintained regional security and protected the thriving trade with South Sudan, Created the conditions and facilitated the peace process under the IGAD arrangement.
Oryem noted that government Uganda remains committed to ensuring a peaceful resolution to the conflict in South Sudan calling conflicting groups to abide Addis Ababa accord.
“Towards that end, Uganda calls on all the South Sudanese parties to abide scrupulously by the terms of the Agreement and implement faithfully its provisions, and to seize this unique opportunity to open a new chapter in the history of their young nation and live up to the expectations of their long suffering people,” he said.
UPDF entered S. Sudan mid December 2013 on request of Salva Kiir after conflict broke out in South Sudan capital Juba between soldiers loyal to Kiir and former vice president Gen. Riek Machar, with the latter attempting a coup d’état.