Uganda says not to withdraw from South Sudan despite U. S. call

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-2-12 9:53:25

Uganda on Tuesday said that despite increasing foreign pressure it will not withdraw its troops from neighboring South Sudan.

Henry Okello Oryem, minister of state for international affairs, told reporters here that Uganda will not heed to calls by the U. S. that it withdraws its troops from South Sudan until the country stabilizes.

"Uganda will not jump just because another country says so, including the United States. We are there at the invitation of a democratically elected government," said Oryem.

He said no country will lecture Uganda on what to or not to do.

"Just because you are a funder of this country, donate money to this country, does not mean you should lecture Uganda, you cannot lecture us because you support us," he said.

The U. S. over the weekend called for the withdrawal of all foreign troops that have been deployed to quell the conflict between forces loyal to incumbent President Salva Kiir and former vice president, Riek Machar.

"We urge the redeployment or phased withdrawal of foreign forces invited by either side and warn of the serious consequences which could result from any regionalization of this conflict," said Jen Psaki, U. S. State Department spokesperson, in a statement.

Although the statement did not directly mention Uganda, it is only the Ugandan military that has been fighting alongside the South Sudan government troops against the rebels.

Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, Ugandan military spokesman, said Ugandan troops will remain in South Sudan to ensure violence does not reoccur in the capital, Juba and the other major states.

"What if violence rolls back into Bor (capital of Jonglei state) , Juba after UPDF (Uganda People's Defense Force) withdraw, will the US be there to help," Ankunda said.

"Does somebody out there still remember that Bor town has changed hands four times? Before they ask for UPDF withdraw?" he asked.

Norway last month urged Uganda to start withdrawing troops to avoid worsening the crisis that has left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands made homeless.

Posted in: Africa

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