Tuesday, May 24, 2016

President Kiir Says Does Not Want Another War
May 23, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir, said he would not want another war with his first deputy, Riek Machar, but warned that talks to cancel the 28 states he unilaterally created would mean the opposition faction was not ready for peace.

He also said he would not tolerate another internal conflict within the new unity government, asserting he would do the best within his power to consolidate peace and stability after the return of his main political rival, Machar.

“This country cannot afford another war, not even for one day,” President Kiir told his supporters comprising senior military officers and high profile politicians who had accompanied him to his ranch in Luri area, located a few kilometres west of the national capital, Juba town.

The head of state retired to Luri on Sunday where he held an informal consultation with his inner circles over contentious matters in the implementation of the August 2015 peace agreement which his administration is yet to find a solution with the armed opposition faction under Machar.

Luri is an area which hosts the president’s cattle farms as well as the location where special forces and heavy weaponry, including helicopter gunships have been stationed for the defence of the capital.

According to a presidential aide, President Kiir consulted his group in the area on how to deal with the issue of 28 states and cantonment of opposition forces in Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazal regions.

He accused the opposition factions in the unity government of wanting to suspend the 28 states, arguing that the opposition faction of SPLM-IO under the leadership of Machar was not interested in peace and stability.

"They come asking about the issue of states. They want us to cancel the order of the states, will people accept, will they accept these states to be cancelled. I think these people are not interested in peace and stability," said Kiir, according to one of his aides who accompanied him on Sunday to his farm.

The president said the opposition was also talking about suspension of the 28 states and “their backers have joined them.”

He accused unnamed foreign powers and organizations of having failed to honour their words and pledges to provide financial support after he formed the unity government with Machar.

“They [donors] used to come and say they would provide support when the transitional government of national unity is formed. Now the government they wanted is formed, they have come up with other excuses. They are saying we should cancel the 28 states and to allow Riek to have cantonment sites for his forces in Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria,” President Kiir lamented.

“Do you know where they have these forces they [SPLA-IO] want to be allowed to have assembling points in Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria?” he asked.

Opposition faction under the leadership of Machar said the argument by President Kiir’s group in refusing cantonment areas for opposition forces in Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazal regions was an attempt to deny the SPLA-IO a national outlook in the country.

On donors not coming forth with financial assistance, the opposition argued that the donors might be waiting to see progress in the implementation of the peace agreement by resolving the issue of the number of states, cantonment of forces and reconstitution of national parliament as well as formation of state government, among others.

They also accused the President’s faction of trying to incite the people, particularly his supporters, to enter into conflicts in defence of the 28 states by always referring to the people not to accept the suspension of the states.

The opposition faction also argued that the people were never consulted when the 28 were unilaterally decreed into being.

The outcome of the Luri’s informal consultation between the president and his confidants was not however revealed to the media.


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