South Sudanese president and leader of the ruling party Salva Kiir convened a leadership meeting on Wednesday, bringing together members of the SPLM political bureau to discuss strategies aimed at ending the ongoing conflict.
Held at the South Sudanese presidency in Juba, Kiir in his capacity as the chairperson of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), told the meeting he will try his best to end war in order to bring peace to the country but not at the expense of those who did not rebel.
“We will do everything to ensure there is peace, but we will also brace ourselves for the defence our country,” he said on Wednesday. “The dialogue will continue,” he added.
The party leader said he had issued general amnesty to all those who have taken up arms against his government and the country, stressing that it gives the chance for all who are in hide or who have escaped from justice to reconcile their situation.
“This amnesty is within the framework of social forgiveness and national unity [despite] the powers of evil and forces of darkness from those who would want to fail us,” the president said without elaborating.
Kiir stressed he “knows that peace is the main thing the people of South Sudan want today”.
“I don’t want war. I don’t want revenge. I want peace, and I will achieve it with your support and cooperation. We need national unity. There’s a window for peace and you know as well as anyone, that it will not stay open indefinitely,” he said.
He emphasised that the party needs to consolidate its gains to have a stronger voice, pointing out the need for unity and the need to fight against extremist and sectarian ideologies that tear communities apart.
The president said the new nation would be in danger if sectarianism is allowed to flourish.
The last round of peace negotiations collapsed on 6th March when the two principal leaders failed to agree on almost every outstanding issue.
However, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is brokering the peace process, has prepared a new draft proposal to be discussed by the warring parties in a new round of talks that had been due to start between 10 and 18 April.
IGAD also intends to include the African Union, UN, EU, troika countries and China in the process.
Meanwhile, Mark Nyipuoc, member of the political bureau, told Sudan Tribune following the meeting that the leadership decided to convene the consultations in order to take a stock of the previous meetings and to see what they have achieved in order to come up with strategies to chart the way forward to resolving the conflict.
“As the leadership we pray for peace and national unity. We are exploring ways to find what unite us as South Sudanese and eliminate all forms of conflict, sectarianism and tribalism. We are seeking wisdom from God and our people to help us to see that we are all one people, children of the same father,” said Nyipuoc.
In a report released earlier this week, the Small Arms Survey’s human security baseline assessment said it’s likely South Sudan’s warring parties would resume hostilities in the coming months, adding they were preparing themselves for intensified violence.