August 2, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir has vowed not to meet his main political rival and former First Vice-President, Riek Machar unless he denounces violence.
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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (L) and former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar (AFP)
The South Sudan leader, an aide said, made these remarks during a meeting with his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni in Kampala last week.
“People have been coming to me saying I should meet with Riek as the part of confidence building for the national dialogue. I told them I have no personal problem with Riek and he himself can attest that by how I treated him at J1 in July 2016,” said the aide, not authorized to speak to the media, told Sudan Tribune Wednesday.
He added, If there was a personal problem with him [Machar], I would have left him [out]”.
President Kiir, according to his aide, told Museveni that reunification of the ruling Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement [SPLM] and reconciliation should proceed without Machar if he [Machar] insists on renegotiation of the 2015 peace deal instead of implementing it.
“This was the agreement he wanted to be implemented. So why call for renegotiation? He says the agreement has died. Is it because he is not the government? The agreement was not between individuals. It was between the parties and that is why it is still being implemented even when he decided to cause unhealthy working relations so that I am seen as having no interest in its implementation. But what happened after he was replaced?” asked Kiir.
The South Sudanese leader said issued that could have been in two months tool less than a week because there was a spirit for cooperation which came with Taban Deng Gai and his group.
Gai, a former rebel chief negotiator, replaced Machar as the First Vice-President when the latter fled the capital, Juba in July last year.
“If he [Machar] had demonstrated this cooperation we have today with Taban, the issues which could not resolve would have been resolved and there would not have been war”, explained Kiir.
He said nation would continue because it was meant for the people.
Last month, the South Sudanese leader led a high level delegation of senior members his ruling party and held talks with Rebecca Nyandeng, widow of the SPLM founder, John Garang de Mabior.
A group of the country’s former political detainees later joined the meeting hosted in Kampala to reconcile and unite the SPLM factions.
The meeting came up with a decision to form a working group and a communiqué calling up all SPLM cadres and the grass root, countrywide and in the diaspora, to embrace this new spirit of reconciliation and unity for the interest of people and the country.
The communiqué called upon the Machar-led factions to join the process of reconciliation and unity of the SPLM. It also called upon other SPLM groups and cadres who are not part of the Arusha agreement to join the reconciliation and reunification process.
The working group was, on the other hand, tasked with developing a matrix for the implementation of the Arusha agreement with specific timeliness and report to Museveni after one week, starting July 31, 2017.
South Sudan’s civil war broke out in December 2013 after President Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup. Machar denied the accusation.
A peace deal signed in August 2015., however, led to the formation of a coalition government but was again devastated by fresh violence that broke out in July last year.