| KAMPALA, July 22
KAMPALA, July 22 South Sudanese rebels who want
to mend ties with Uganda and press for the withdrawal of Ugandan
troops from South Sudan left Kampala without meeting the
president, blaming miscommunication between the two sides, a
rebel official said on Tuesday.
Ugandan Junior Foreign Minister Okello Oryem said a meeting
with President Yoweri Museveni was scheduled for Tuesday. But he
said the rebels had not shared their travel plans and left hours
after arriving on Monday when nobody met them at the airport.
The rebel camp has been angered by Uganda's deployment of
troops to South Sudan in support of the government of President
Salva Kiir against insurgent forces led by his sacked deputy
Tuesday's meeting would have been the first official talks
between the rebels and Museveni, a long-time ally of Kiir, since
the conflict erupted in mid-December.
Western powers and some regional states have said Uganda's
presence complicates peace talks, which have rumbled on for
months with little progress. Sparked by political rivalry, the
conflict has re-opened deep ethnic divisions in South Sudan.
"What happened was just logistical miscommunication, an
issue of coordination," Miyong Kuon, spokesman for rebel leader
Machar, told Reuters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where
the peace talks have been held.
"It will be resolved as soon as possible," he said, adding
that the team would "definitely go back" when dates were fixed.
The rebel camp said on Monday the aim was to patch up ties
and discuss a withdrawal of Ugandan troops. Uganda said no one
would "dictate" when its soldiers quit South Sudan.
The Ugandan minister blamed the rebels for not providing
details of their travel plans to the Uganda authorities.
"It's not the job of the Ugandan government to be looking at
who is arriving at Entebbe every one minute. It's your
responsibility that when you're travelling to a country you
inform your host that you are coming," he said.
(Additional reporting by Aaron Maasho; Writing by Drazen Jorgic
and Edmund Blair, Editing by Angus MacSwan)