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Key Quotes from South Sudan President Salva Kiir's Speech to UN General Assembly

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir used most of his speech on Saturday to the United Nations General Assembly in New York to talk about the conflict in his young country and call for international help in restoring peace and putting South Sudan on the path to development.

But he also touched on the origins of the violence, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, climate change, internally displaced persons (IDPs), the mandate of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, and new media laws, among other issues.

Here are some key quotes from Mr. Kiir's speech.

Long road to freedom

"The journey of my people from conflict to peace, independence and freedom was costly, and characterized by economic and political marginalization, a prolonged war, humanitarian disasters, the loss of millions of lives and untold human suffering. At independence, we acquired a country with a multitude of challenges, ranging from weak national institutions, inadequate physical infrastructure, limited human capacity and weak security mechanisms."

Blaming Machar

"I have no doubt the world has followed with shock and disbelief the violent conflict that erupted in South Sudan on Sunday, the 15th of December, which was plotted by my former vice president, who wanted to seize power by force."

Commitment to peace

"My Government is unwaveringly committed to resolve the conflict peacefully and my negotiating team has been in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, since January 2014 talking peace with the rebels to close this dark chapter in the history of our young country, open a new page and pave the way for us to embark on the difficult mission of social and economic development, which our people urgently need."

Political struggle

"The conflict in South Sudan is purely a political struggle for power, not an ethnic conflict as it has been reported."

UN Mission in South Sudan

"We... urge UNMISS to engage in reorientation of its activities related to its mandate to civilians' protection, to shift from ‘protection-by-presence’ to ‘protection-by-action,’ and to encourage those in UNMISS camps to return to their homes. UNMISS needs to protect the civilians in their neighborhoods and not in camps in a huge country like ours, which is bigger than the size of France."

Climate change

"Climate change is now recognized as a huge global threat. It is the single biggest threat that can wipe out the planet Earth and the entire human race."