Live Video interview
Jeff Koinange live with Rebecca Garang the wife of the former founded father of South Sudan.
Former political detainee, Amb. Ezekiel Lol Gatkouth, former South Sudan ambassador to Washington (Video: via Daily Nation)
May 28, 2014(Nairobi, Kenya) — They were flown from cold cells and solitary confinement in Juba, South Sudan, to State House, Nairobi, and later moved to the Sh1 million-a-month Windsor Park Villas on Kigwa Road.
Each of the double-storey villas sits on 0.25 acres next to the ritzy Windsor Golf and Country Club, in a gated community, whose residents have full access to the golf club and the ritzy hotel. Owning one of the villas will set you back by Sh62 million, according to an on-line advert.
Such is the five-star treatment the Government of Kenya accords Mr Pagan Okiech, General Oyay Ajak and Dr Majak Atem. The four are a part of the 11 former officials in President Salva Kiir’s government now residing in Kenya.
The men ensconced in Windsor Villas had been accused of planning to overthrow the government after Africa’s youngest state exploded into a civil war but were released in a deal brokered by President Uhuru Kenyatta, underlining their strategic role in what will become of war-torn South Sudan.
“We are getting the best services here. While in prison, we were only allowed to leave our cells when going to court,” says Mr Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, a former South Sudan Ambassador to the United States, and the only member of the group who spoke to us.
In custody, he preferred food from his wife; not prison grime. Now he only needs to pick up the phone to order the choicest of morsels and describes his lot as “guests of the President.”
The goriest face of the South Sudan conflict was the Bentui massacre that happened when Dr Machar’s forces captured the capital of the oil-rich Unity State on April 22. More than 200 civilians were butchered in bloodletting reminiscent of the Rwandan massacre.
While maintaining that Dr Machar couldn’t have targeted civilians, Mr Gatkuoth says: “Human rights violations have been committed by both sides. The killings should be investigated and those responsible should be held to account.”
In an exclusive interview with the Nation, Mr Gatkuoth wore the look of a man removed from his motherland obviously in deep thought about the bloodshed back home.
He says he and 11 other former political detainees from South Sudan are trying to unite South Sudanese after the bloody fallout between President Kiir and his then Vice-President, Dr Machar. The 11, he adds, had no hand in the fighting that broke out in December, but reiterates their call for a transition government.
Under the watchful eyes and protection of Kenyan security men in the quiet surroundings, the group spends day after day thinking about how to stop the war in a country Mr Gatkuoth describes as “being enveloped in desperation”.
“Juba is not the place it used to be. It was booming. People were making money. Businesses are collapsing and investors are not coming back for fear that fighting could break out any time,” he says.
We ask him what went wrong and why the country could not learn a lesson after 25 years of civil war with the north, now a separate state.
“Lack of tolerance and visionary leadership from Salva Kiir’s government,” he explains.
Mr Kiir has led South Sudan under the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement since 2011 with Dr Machar as his Vice-President. He sacked him in 2013 and dissolved the Cabinet, precipitating the current crisis.
“This one (the fighting) had been coming since 2011 when we had our independence,” says Mr Gatkuoth.
“The army is split into two factions — one supporting Machar and the other, Kiir. The whole leadership is in a shambles,” he says.
The oil-rich nation has not known peace since it seceded from Sudan. In 2012, it was caught up in a dispute with Khartoum over the oil-rich regions such as Heglig and Abyei. Then its own people turned against one another in a battle of ethnic supremacy.
“Machar is a Nuer and Kiir a Dinka. Since 2005 they have navigated through difficulties and contradictions while working together until July 9, 2011, when we broke away from Sudan and the two formed the government,” says Mr Gatkuoth, who is allied to the Machar faction.
“Even the Judges of the special court were about to dismiss the case on April 30. They were going to acquit us. But they were advised by the legal team from the Ministry of Justice not to allow the government to be embarrassed. And on April 24 we were released quoting ‘for the sake of peace and reconciliation’ but that was not the case,” he said.
Since then, Machar and Kiir were engaged in peace talks in Addis Ababa this month they signed a ceasefire deal in Addis Ababa which they violated before the ink could dry up. Kiir alleged that he signed he put pen on paper because Ethiopian authorities threatened to detain both him and Machar but Machar said no such thing happened.
“There are many options such as a transition government which will pave the way for elections and the country can even get a good constitution in the meantime. This transition can be led by both sides or by a neutral team which will allow for negotiations and reconciliation for the people of South Sudan,” says Mr Gatkuoth.
“The killings have taken us back to square one and we have to go back to the drawing board.”
Mr Gatkuoth says Machar does not want war.
“Peace is the only option we have and that is why they signed the May 9 agreement in Addis. If Kiir is not committed to it, he has to be made to honour to the agreement,” adds Mr Gatkuoth, who repeated the phrase “It is not business as usual in South Sudan” over 10 times during the interview.
“I am sure Kiir, like the rest of us should be for peace, as nobody is interested in the destructive fighting which nobody will win anyway and further disintegrate the country.”
It is not clear how long the group will be in Kenya but it is not in a hurry to go back to Juba because their lives are in danger.
The source is from: Courtesy of daily Nation
May 12, 2014
The Alliance for South Sudanese in Diaspora (ASSD) welcomes the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement between the Government of South Sudan and the SPLM/A (In Opposition) and the rededication to the Cessation of Hostilities signed on Friday, May 9, 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. ASSD call for inclusiveness, sincerity and seriousness in its implementation and negotiating long-term settlement to South Sudan’s conflict.
ASSD urges the signatories to the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement to adhere to the Cessation of Hostilities as articulated in the peace agreement. ASSD also call for inclusiveness of civil societies, faith-based groups, South Sudanese Diaspora and friends of South Sudan around the world to help negotiate comprehensive long-term political and durable solutions to issues faced by the people of South Sudan before and after independence.
ASSD also call upon the International Community and friends of South Sudan to support the ongoing peace process between the South Sudanese warring parties in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by making sure the underlying issues and fundamental problems are addressed for peace and trust to be restored among South Sudanese Communities.
We firmly believe that for long-term settlement of South Sudanese current crisis and prevention of future conflicts, those whose actions led to mass murders be held accountable and prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
For information, contact us at +1(202) 709-7322 or via email at email@example.com
About the ASSD: ASSD is an umbrella organization for South Sudanese organizations and individuals advocating for peace, freedom, democracy, human rights, good governance and development in South Sudan
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: April 9, 2014: Former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and Salva Kiir Mayardit agreed to end hostilities within 24 hours. The signing took place at national Palace in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.
The agreement didn’t call for a permanent ceasefire but this is left to the negotiators of the IGAD peace let talks to find a permanent deal that works for the both sides. But according to the Upper Nile Times’ reporter, Tekle Mariam, the deal agreed upon by the two warring leaders include:
- Ending of attacks by both sides
- Formation of inclusive transitional government
- Drafting of transitional constitution
- And call for new and fresh elections.
The agreement however didn’t disclose who among the two will head the transitional government. But the lead negotiator of the peace talks, Gen. Seyum Mesfin said that that it shouldn’t be a problem since the two leaders agreed without preconditions to end the rebellion.
Omaha, Nebraska: April 9, 2014-The former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar today, arrived in Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa a head of face-to-face talks with Salva Kiir Mayardit.
His former December SPLM team joined. From Nairobi, Kenya, Rebecca Nyadeng Garang, Pagan Amum, Dr. Majak de Agoot, Oyay Deng Ajak and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth unite with Dr. Machar and the rest of SPLM/SPLA leaders in Ethiopia.
The United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, and United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, urged the two leaders to meet face-to-face in order to immediately end the war and start a new chapter for the world’s youngest nation. It also became a boon opportunity for the historic SPLM leaders to finally reunite to end Salva Kiir and his cronies hope in SPLM.
This will be an historic meeting of the two leaders and will be the first meeting for the SPLM/SPLA group who publicly opposed Salva Kiir leadership during December 6, 2013 press conference in Juba.
Speaking on the phone in Addis, Ababa, Angelina Teny confirmed the Arrival of Dr. Riek Machar from South Sudan. Machar and the team will first meet the Prime Minister of Ethipia before attending the face-to-face talks with Kiir Friday evening.
Back in the field, Salva Kiir again broke his own truth before the ink dries. He has again ordered an attacked on SPLM freedom fighters in Bentiu, Unity state less than 48 hours after announcing the attack on rebel will be halted and dedicated the month of April as a month for peace. However, all promises evaporated into a thin air. This is not new. Kiir is known for not keeping promises anyways. His political rhetoric from the pass proved he is a leader who vacillates on issues matter to people.
About one million people have been displaced, More than ten thousands have been killed since the eruption of South Sudan crisis in December last year.
Thousands of innocents Nuers are still at UNMISSS camps in Juba, their homes are either sold or occupied by stanch supporters of Dinka government in Juba.
In December last year, he tried to kill him. Now, he must face him. What will the first word Salva Kiir uttered to Dr. Machar sound like? Sorry? What am I doing here?
SST staff writers: Nairobi, Kenya-The US secretary of States John Kerry traveled to Addis, Ababa Ethiopia last week specifically to force South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit to stop war and seek peace. Kerry did manage to force Kiir to accept an interim administration that includes Machar. But, is that what Dr. Machar and the country called for? No.
Machar and the people of South Sudan want Kiir to exit and do not want an interim period without dissolving the constitutions first. “The Constitution must be changed, Kiir step-down, and then, interim period and eventually election will take place. Until that become an agreement, meeting face-to -face will not yield any fruitful result. I do not simply trust Salva Kiir who has deceived the nation about a coup just to massacre Nuer in order to remain President.” Nyagile Thot Keat of Omaha, Nebraska said.
Dr. Machar will first meet the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and discussed wide range of issues including what the two rivals will discussed during face-to-face meeting.
Who is really for peace among the two? For a long time, Machar has been the only leader that is known for echoing peace in South Sudan. Since the time he was removed from the office in July 23, 2013, he stepped up his call for peace in the country. He called on the nation to avoid war, embraced peace and opt for a democratic election to choose the next government. While sticking on the transformation of the SPLM party, his archrival was busy finding loopholes to get rid of him. He did by imposing the current war on the country when he allegedly accused Machar and his SPLM historical leaders of staging coup that had never taken place.
Now that the coup case has crumbled, the international pressure is mounting on him, he has no choice but to accept the interim period followed by a face-to –face talks with the man he feared the most, Dr. Machar.
But, the talks in Addis cannot progress while the government keeps attacking rebels positions. Even though a cessation of Hostilities (CoH) was signed in January this year between the SPLM/SPLA (rebels), the government failed to adhere to the truth. In stead, Kiir ordered his loyalists to continue their assaults on rebels’ positions in Upper Nile region.
American have to act and act fast. In order to create conducive atmosphere for the talk to restart and make progress in Addis, John Kerry wanted to make sure, Kiir meet his archrivals face to face this time. Reluctantly, he accepted. Knowing the capabilities of Dr. Machar, the man who wants to bring change and install democracy in the nascent nation. Kiir inner circle in Juba vehemently opposed the two archrivals face-to-face meeting. They do not trust the President intellectual judgment in critical issues such as finding ways to bring peace to the country. They feared he would give-in.
In comparison, they may not be wrong. Machar by far will provide a workable solution to the crisis over his rival during the face-to –face meeting. But, will that work for Salva Kiir’s inner circle? Kiir has been afraid of Machar for a very long time dated back during the years of struggles. Their relationship deteriorated much faster when Machar interest to run for the party leadership surfaced last year. The former vice President will astutely talked his archival into common ground base at the edge of the wider issues.
You can be a General and a Commander in Chief, but can you lead? Kiir is a professional soldier who has never captured a major town during the struggle. He is not a politician and lacked keys ingredients in diplomatic arena. He relied on his tribesmen and relatives who often hill advised him on how to run the nation with a population of 12 million and 64 tribes.
In Addis, what will Machar bring on the table? Dr. Machar is highly educated, a full state-man with international experience in governance. For the last 30 years during struggles, he mastered the art of negotiations. He has a PhD in philosophy and Strategic Planning from the British University of Bradford in 1984 in England. He joined the South Sudan struggle for freedom at the same year. Whereas, President Salva Kiir is a grade 12th dropout student. He joined the first southern rebellion moment called Anya nya one early on.
Apparently, when comparing the two intellectually, Machar will bring a wealth of experiences both militarily and politically. However, without his advisors coaching him on, Salva Kiir has nothing to present but a cowboy hat on his head.
South Sudan rebels said they have always been interested in bringing about a peaceful resolution to their country’s conflict, which has killed thousands and displaced more than a million people. Machar-Kiir meeting may bring truth, but they believe President will not give up power through negotiations. Kiir critics added.
Response To Statement by the Permanent Representative of South Sudan to the United Nations (UN), Dr. Francis Mading Deng, to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), May 2, 2014
The address to the UNSC by the Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Francis Mading Deng, presented the Government of the Republic of South Sudan’s (GRSS) response to the concerns raised by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay and the UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide Mr. Adama Dieng. Instead of addressing the root causes of the conflict and proposing a just solution; the Permanent Representative of the GRSS to the UN went ahead to defend the violent (genocidal) campaign of the government known as the Juba Massacre, while heaping blame on what he termed as rebels.
It is highly regrettable that such a renowned personality with such an illustrious career as a diplomat, a prominent elder, and scholar would defend a massacre that took place before the eyes of the whole world. It is ironic that almost exactly to the twentieth anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide the former UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide would be giving a speech in defense of a massacre on the floor of the UNSC. This amounts to a moral and professional betrayal of his previous duty as the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, and of the principles on which the UN was founded.
The UN Permanent Representative of the GRSS started with remarks in which he invoked democratic principles of legitimacy stating that; “It is indisputable that the Government must bear primary responsibility for protecting its citizens without discrimination on ethnic or any other ground, and be accountable in that regard.” The Permanent Representative is either naïve about the genesis of the conflict, or is complacent in trying to cover up the crimes against humanity that took place in Juba between the 16 – 18 of December 2014.The UN Permanent Representative for South Sudan seems to forget that the conflict arose because of the government failure to do exactly what he suggests is the responsibility of the government. He goes on to say: “However, that cannot justify placing a democratically elected government on the same moral, political, and legal grounds with a rebel group using violence to overthrow that Government.”
The objective of what the Permanent Representative has labeled as rebels is not to overthrow the government using violent means; it is instead, a war of resistance against a government that without provocation killed, according to an International Crisis Group (ICG) report 10,000 and other online sources 20,000 of its own citizens in three days based on their ethnicity. It is worth noting that wether it was 10,000 or 20,000, it is the quality of the crime rather than the quantity of the crime that is appaling. The government committed these murders in the name of thwarting a coup that has now been shown to be unfounded. This however, has not stopped the Permanent Representative from continuing to push the coup narrative, in order to discredit genuine voices for change in the country.
The coup narrative has been rejected by the world, as reflected by the statement of the assistant secretary of state for African affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield in her report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on South Sudan crisis: “We’ve not seen any evidence that this was a coup attempt, but it certainly was the result of a huge political rift between Riek Machar and the president.” The people of South Sudan at the grassroots level have also rejected the coup narrative and the only reason their voices are silent is for fear of victimization from the authorities. This fact became even clearer after the Army Chief of Military Intelligence testified in court that he could not connect the four to the alleged coup, leading to his dismissal.
The coup was fabricated by President Salva Kiir and his inner circle in order to purge the leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), a leadership he saw as a threat to his underhanded plan of holding on to power through illegal means. This plan started to become apparent when the president on the 15th of November, 2013 illegally dissolved the structures of the SPLM: “The SPLM has dissolved itself by itself, it is only the office of the Chairman that cannot be dissolved; nobody can dissolve it” he remarked. This is illegal.
The massacre in Juba occurred in the wake of this fabricated coup, I don’t see the connection between an alleged coup attempt and the need to massacre thousands of civilians (women and children) in cold blood. The Permanent Representative’s argument of the legitimacy of the government is a diversion to draw attention away from the fact that the massacre of between 10,000 and 20,000 innocent civilians brings this very legitimacy into question. This was what brought the legitimacy of Mohamad Morsi into question, and more recently it has brought the legitimacy of Viktor Yanukovych into question. The President of the Republic of South Sudan has murdered more of his own citizens than these two Presidents combined. This begs the question: how many citizens does President Salva Kiir have to murder before his legitimacy comes into question?
The UN special Representative for South Sudan is either misleading, or being misled when he asserts that; “The President also spoke to me about the constructive discussion he had with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, to whom he expressed his willingness to meet with rebel leader Riek Machar in the interests of speedy end to the war.” Though this is very courageous on the part of President Salva, the record sadly shows that the president is not for peace as he continues to keep foreign mercenaries in the country in violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoH).
The recent appointment of the former Governor of Northern Bahrgazal, Gen. Paul Malong as the Chief of General Staff and Marial Nuor as Chief of Military Intelligence, both architects of the Juba Massacre and other atrocities prior to the 15th of December, is a further indication that there is no desire for a “speedy end to the war”. The recent Massacre of 190 trainees and their families in Mapel, Western Bahrgazal State, as reported by Sudan Tribune (on April 26, 2014) is a testament to their brutality and also another indication that the government is not for peace.
In regards to the Agreement on the Status of Detainees, although we salute the courage of the President when he released the four detainees, the fact that more pressure had to be put on the government to allow the four SPLM leaders to travel is an indication that the President is not sincere about his respect for national judicial process and a desire for a “speedy end to the war.” It is not the speed with which we achieve peace that will end the suffering of the people of South Sudan, but a just and honorable peace. The violation of the two agreements signed between the SPLM and the GRSS sets a treacherous precedence for any future agreements that may be reached between the two parties.
The leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) 70% of which has deserted the government has no policy of recruiting child soldiers as alleged by the Special Representative who unambiguously said that: “on specific issues raised by the reports of the High Commissioner and the Special Advisor, the allegation that both sides are recruiting child soldiers is an example of the moral equivalency that clouds the facts and the need to place responsibility where it belongs.”
This is paradoxical, and in order to understand this paradox we have to again revisit the root cause of the conflict. As already mentioned, the murder of between 10,000 to 20,000 innocent civilians in Juba was the catalyst that led to the White Army Uprising. In an article for the New York Times (on April 03, 2014) Journalist Jackie Fortin interviewed one of the White Army local militia referred to only as Mr. Wiyual; “…we are fighting the government for killing people,” he went on to say; “we aren’t fighting for Dr. Riek.”
The Juba Massacre has militarized the youth of Nuer ethnicity in their cattle camps and villages and they are understandably angry. The troops that are under the Command of Comrade Dr. Riek Machar are regular SPLA Soldiers from various divisions that upon hearing of the Juba Massacre rebelled and captured Bor Town. The cycle of revenge started almost immediately with reprisals in Akobo and Bentiu where more innocent civilians lost their lives, in all these cases the loss of life is regrettable and unjustifiable; however, we must acknowledge that the catalyst for all this is the Juba Massacre that the government is trying to cover up.
The fact is, that had Comrade Dr. Riek Machar and Comrade Taban Deng fallen victim to the dastardly plot to murder them in the name of a failed coup, we would be in a more dismal humanitarian situation. There would have been no leadership on the ground to attempt to organize this anger felt by the Nuer youth in their cattle camps and villages. The White Army local militia could have gone on an unchecked orgy of killings that would have taken a long time to stop and would have led to an unending cycle of reprisals. The leadership of the SPLM – SPLA is trying against all odds to turn the current crisis into an opportunity by organizing the anger caused by the Juba Massacre and turn it into an opportunity to bring about fundamental change in the country.
The bold stand by Comrade Dr. Riek Machar to organize this anger demonstrates leadership, in a time where historical leaders are shying away from their responsibility to the people. The stand of Comrade Dr. Riek Machar, Comrade Taban and many more Comrades is what has created a glimmer of hope, an opportunity to turn this despicable tragedy into an opportunity to reconcile our communities at the grassroots level. The failure to do this since 2005 is a major contributing factor to the current crisis as old grievances from the days of the civil war are still haunting us.
The President of the Republic of South Sudan admission that he formed a private army outside of the SPLA is on record. It was reported in the Sudan Tribune (February 17, 2014) that; “…the president tried to justify the formation of the unauthorized army, saying the intention was to have…a reserve force…in the event that military action was needed…” He went on to say; “…it was on this basis that somebody mobilized and recruited some youth…” This is the very private militia that was used by the presidency to commit the atrocities in Juba that plunged the fledgling nation into the abyss.
It is difficult to understand how the President could form any credble “high level committee, chaired by the former Chief Justice, to investigate gross violations of human rights and hold accountable those found responsible”; the same person that trained and equipped the militia that went out on a rampage killing between 10,000 to 20,000 people in three days. The president according to the UN Permanent Representative also said, “anyone targeting members of the Nuer community in his name was against him”. This is a clear indication that the president was aware of the crimes being committed, and his response was feeble in the face of such heinous crimes.
The UN Permanent Representative for South Sudan has accused what he terms as rebels, “of massive abuses and ethnically targeted massacres,” which he claims “have become a conspicuous part of their war strategy.” The leadership of the SPLM – SPLA in a historic conference in Nassir held from the 15 – 18 of April, made it clear to the world what the SPLM – SPLA is struggling for. The SPLM – SPLA is strugling to establish a federal system of government in fulfilment of the aspirations of the people of the Republic of South Sudan. The allegations made by the UN Permanent Representative are baseless, and are tantamount to propaganda.
Then after malevolently accusing the SPLA forces of committing atrocities the Permanent Representative goes on to justify a massacre that recently took place at the UNMISS camp for IDP’s in Bor. The “war was provoked when the Youth of Bor town heard the IDP’s in the UN compound celebrating the capture of Bentiu by the rebels,” it is regrettable that the former United Nations Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide would justify a massacre committed along ethnic lines. This is double standards.
The Permanent Representative also claims that “the Government sees UNMISS as a critical partner in South Sudan”, this is in contradiction to the statements made by the President of the Republic of South Sudan as reported by the BBC News Africa (on 21 January, 2014) in which the President claims he “…did not know when the UNMISS was brought to South Sudan, they were brought as a parallel government with the government in South Sudan;” he then went on to say “they fell short of naming the chief of UNMISS as a co-president of the Republic of South Sudan.”
The reality is that the Government of the Republic of South Sudan has abdicated its responsibility to the people of South Sudan to the United Nations. The government antagonizes UNMISS and yet they expect them to “…protect civilians, deliver humanitarian assistance, and promote respect for human rights.” This is the work of the government, and it is the failure to deliver the peace dividends nearly a decade on from the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (in 2005), that has also contributed to the conflict as the youth feel they have nothing to lose.
There is no excuse for the current state of institutional collapse in the Republic of South seeing that there was tremendous social and political will, both internally and externally. The governments of the IGAD countries and those of Troika spared no expense in providing opportunities to the young state for capacity building. The Republic of South Sudan has not been short of “understanding, compassion, and support in building a nation that can ensure peace, security, and development for its people” as the UN Permanent Representative for South Sudan would like the world to believe.
The Permanent Representative would also like the world to believe that “the reasons why charges against the four accused were eventually dropped was to foster efforts towards peace and reconciliation. The truth however, is that the case against these detainees was weak and the judge was going to throw out the case. “The Government has noticed that the court is going to prove that we are not guilty” stated former political detainee and legitimate Secretary General of the SPLM, Comrade Pagan Amum upon his release.
The government after supposedly releasing the detainees in the name of “efforts towards peace” detained their passports and denied them travel for medical treatment in violation of their civil rights and liberties. “The reason they didn’t travel is because some of them are giving irresponsible statements, and we did not cancel the case but we dropped the process. So if they do not change their attitude we will reopen the case again,” stated the Minister of Information. This kind of intimidation and aggressive posturing does not build confidence, and is in principle an obstacle to peace.
The way forward out of the current political deadlock, and military stalemate is to have an honest, all inclusive dialogue that will address the root causes of the conflict. The solutions of the past have not worked, solutions such as “…balancing accountability with mutual accommodation” as suggested by the Permanent Representative is what has not worked in the past and has led to current dissatisfaction with the system. This is the reason that the masses of South Sudanese are now demanding a federal system of governance, which is what they have bravely fought for since 1947.
In conclusion the “forgiveness and reconciliation” that the Permanent Representative is referring to cannot be achieved unless we address the root causes of the conflict. The current crisis in the country started as a crisis within the SPLM, which after December 15, has become an alarming national crisis. It is awfully disappointing that Dr. Francis Mading Deng a distinguished personality with such an illustrious career as a diplomat, a prominent elder, scholar and the former UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide would defend a massacre that took place before the eyes of the whole world on the twentieth anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide.
Cpt. Mabior Garang de Mabior
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Three years ago, I was in Juba to witness the birth of the world’s newest nation, and last week as I returned to South Sudan I saw how fragile the future can be when old grudges degenerate into violence. The United States condemns in the strongest terms recent offensives by South Sudanese government forces against opposition-held positions in Nassir, Bentiu, and elsewhere in Unity and Jonglei states.
These attacks blatantly violate the January 23 Cessation of Hostilities agreement and contradict commitments President Kiir has made in recent days. We call on all parties to re-dedicate themselves to the agreement, not just in words, but in actions, and to halt all military offensives. The government and opposition forces also must cooperate fully with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, and we look forward to the Mechanism’s report on these incidents.
The government and opposition must resolve their differences at the negotiating table, rather than through military action. The United States reiterates our continued support for the IGAD-led talks, and our disappointment with the government delegation’s unwillingness to engage constructively in recent rounds of talks. We call on President Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar to follow through on their commitments to meet directly in the coming days to end the conflict and initiate discussions on an inclusive political transition.
We again call on both sides of the conflict to ensure humanitarian access for UN agencies and others who are trying to provide life-saving assistance to all in need, and to respect and support the UN Mission in South Sudan as it carries out its mandate to protect civilians.