Kiir urges rival Machar to return to South Sudan

South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Tuesday urged rebel chief Riek Machar to return to Juba during a speech to parliament in which he vowed to uphold a shaky peace deal.

Kiir said he was deeply touched and had “trembled” in April when Pope Francis knelt to kiss his feet at a Vatican retreat with his rival, adding that this had laid a heavy responsibility on his shoulders.

“I have completely forgiven him [Machar] and all I ask from him is to become a peace partner, for he is no longer my opponent,” Kiir told the opening of a new session of parliament.

READ MORE: South Sudan rivals meet in bid to salvage stalled peace deal

“In the spirit of [the peace deal] and our experience in Rome, I once again extend my invitation to Dr. Riek Machar to return home.”

The two main actors in a devastating conflict that is now in its sixth year, signed a peace deal in September 2018 which was meant to culminate in a power-sharing government on May 12.

READ MORE: South Sudan’s bid to build a new army is troubled

However numerous issues such as the creation of a unified army have yet to be dealt with and the formation of the government has been delayed another six months.

Machar is also concerned about his personal security should he return to the capital, after fleeing on foot under a hail of gunfire when a previous peace deal collapsed in July 2016.

READ MORE: Riek Machar’s lonely  ’exile’ in SA

He is currently living in Khartoum.

Kiir’s political will to implement the deal has been in question, particularly after it emerged he had hired a US lobby group to block the creation of a war crimes court that is part of the agreement.

The president nonetheless insisted he was committed to the deal.

Country at a crossroads 

“Our country stands at a crossroad, to embrace and consolidate peace or to slide back to war. I stand for peace and stability and I completely reject war.

“My government shall therefore spend all resources at its disposal for the purposes of consolidating peace and stability in our moral and religious duty to bring peace to our people.”

Kiir also reflected on his time with the pope, who stunned the world by kneeling to kiss the feet of two men accused of responsibility for heinous war crimes.

“To be honest, I was shocked and trembled, but I also knew deep down my heart that his Holiness did this to show Christ’s humility.

“Pope Francis’ act of humility is both a blessing and a curse on all of us. A blessing, if we heed to his call for peace and a curse if we play games with the lives of our people.”

South Sudan’s war has left 380 000 people dead and forced more than four million South Sudanese — almost a third of the population — to flee their homes. Numerous attempts to restore peace have failed.

Agency
External source
Advertisting

Salie-Hlophe accuses Goliath of lying and racism

In response to Goliath’s gross misconduct complaint, Salie-Hlophe says Goliath has ‘an unhealthy obsession with my marriage’

Treasury is still seeking SAA funds

The government has committed an additional R2-billion to the airline, but has yet to pay it out

‘There were no marks on his neck’, Neil Aggett inquest...

The trade unionist’s partner at the time he was detained at John Vorster Square says she now believes his death was not a suicide
Advertising

Press Releases

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.