News / Africa

    Riek Machar: Don't Let 'Stupid' Comment Block South Sudan Talks

    South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar (foreground, left) shakes hands with U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay at an undisclosed location.
    South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar (foreground, left) shakes hands with U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay at an undisclosed location.
    John Tanza
    South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar said in an interview this week that he backs the Intergovernmental Authority on Development's (IGAD) stewardship at long-running peace talks between his side and the government, but wants the process to be more inclusive. 

    Machar also said a statement attributed to IGAD Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim, calling him and President Salva Kiir stupid, was "unfortunate" but should not be allowed to stall the peace process.

    "I've not been known for being stupid," said Machar, who has a degree in engineering from the University of Khartoum and a doctorate in philosophy and strategic planning from Britain's University of Bradford.

    "That reference was very unfortunate and I would have thought Mahboub would apologize and we would continue with the peace process," he said, stressing that the opposition wants the talks to move forward.
    I've not been known for being stupid.


    The latest round of peace talks for South Sudan was supposed to start Monday, but neither the government nor opposition delegates showed up.

    In a speech to lawmakers in Juba Thursday, Mr. Kiir said the government delegation will not return to the talks until he gets an apology from IGAD Chair, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia. Mr. Kiir has also called for Maalim to be punished for his statement.
     

    Opposition wants greater inclusivity


    The opposition said its negotiators were no-shows for the talks, not because of the comment made by Maalim, but because it wants the peace process to be more representative and include civil society, political and faith-based groups that fled South Sudan when fighting broke out in mid-December.

    "Those who have a problem with the government in Juba have fled the country," Machar said in the interview with South Sudan in Focus.

    "Those who felt things are not right and want a peace agreement and a change in the government structures are the ones abroad. They are the victims," Machar said. He has asked IGAD to include those groups in the peace talks, he said.

    As for the groups who have stayed in South Sudan throughout more than six months of violence, some of whom were in Addis Ababa for the talks, Machar said, "I don't consider them victims."

    "They are not under fear, are not coerced by anybody. Probably, they are pro-government civil society organizations," Machar said.

    While the opposition leader did not say he wanted pro-government groups excluded from the talks, he insisted that the IGAD-brokered negotiations must be more "transparent," and include exiled groups.


    Readers react


    South Sudan in Focus Twitter followers and website readers were astounded that the talks had stalled over an insult. "Well done IGAD," commented Lisa from Texas on an earlier story about the delay to the talks. "I once said there is no law against stupidity, so why SPLM are mad?"

    IGAD said in a statement that the talks are due to resume on Friday.

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    by: Magol Magol from: Anchorage Ak USA
    June 23, 2014 3:14 AM
    Dear S.Sudanese, Risk machar doesn't reflect the word doctor, how many times he broke away from SPLM and he didn't succeed? Because he always doesn't know what he is doing. And don't forget he will keep running away for the of his life.

    by: malel Abergut from: Kampala Uganda
    June 21, 2014 2:38 AM
    We South Sudanese most especially the leaders are the major problem,you agreed a transitional government to be in place within 60 days,again you are boycotting it that means you all signed without knowing what is a transitional government.

    by: Anonymous
    June 20, 2014 2:10 PM
    what am seeing the igad is bussiness they wanted to expliote or benefit that why they wanted to creat more problems so that they exist on the ground.it is so simple to order any violeting party witness their mistakes and carryed forward for international community to see.

    by: makuei Philemon from: Juba
    June 20, 2014 5:16 AM
    No peace will be achieve since igad members brench to insult the two sides.with out reasons .it is project.17m dollars &12m euro are used .without progress. What provoked to insult?

    by: tulith from: addis ababa ethiopia
    June 20, 2014 4:04 AM
    please salva kiir even the king can forgive is subordinate don,t be too much rigid did the guy insulted you before?

    by: Gatdet Thoan from: washintong seattle
    June 20, 2014 3:38 AM
    Yes. The comment it right. There is not coup therefore the comments it's absolutely right high five. Offs the hook.

    by: Makjohnson from: South Sudan
    June 20, 2014 1:25 AM
    I don't really understands what prompted Salva Kiir not to accept peace in South Sudan this time. If he is really not stupid as quoted, why not disapproving by accepting peace in the country? I doubt how a President or government which has no its own army can accept war only to rely on mercenaries from Uganda, west, South-east and the Central Sudan. Now, the rain come and the mercenaries will fall short to help Kiir...................

    by: jin chua from: Uganda
    June 20, 2014 12:24 AM
    How come peace maker from IGAD through a bad word to the people that he has try to bring peace between them .Did he plan to make peace in South Sudan ? if he call those people stupid ,did he come for peace? He is the first time to c civil war ? How he hold this position in IGAD while he doesn't even know solving problem ?
    if we come to real judgement on this man , he is actual stupid by himself.

    by: maluak from: United States
    June 19, 2014 10:49 PM
    The one thing that is not the same for the best way for the first place in our hearts and I have been the case of the day is a great time with the Kiir same as the original message without having trouble getting ready for some people are saying about how to find out more information on what you want to know if they were not the intended for use of this message.

    by: Lisa from: Tx
    June 19, 2014 10:08 PM
    To all south sudanese, the presendent have changed from being studip, to jackass. Kiir and his team are waiting for the minister to say sorry for calling south Sudan government studip. You can not explain studipity, this guys don't care about lnnocent lifes, south sudanese government think that this is a game? We are talking about human being. The more you delay and giving excuses the lifes are lost. Now i believe that the government interest is zero on its people. Thousand in UN compand just like refugees in another country waiting to go home. Why kiir? Millions are waiting to die soon, because no security, food and health. Am just asking God to help Dr riek to bring peace in the country. I know their are evil people in the government, you better believe me, they don't think about the suffering of others . Am asking Jesus, this time to help My country. Because nobody cares about the suffering of south sudanese apart from Dr riek, once he was called studip because he ask for peace within south Sudanese . He did stop fighting the splm instead he call for self determination. And yes we became independent, from the north which splm/A never wanted the south Sudan to be south. Splm wanted new Sudan. So that the more the war they get rich. Splm will never govern the country if they don't care a bout future generation. Dr riek your NOT a rebel your my presendent through Jesus. to all sudanese who believes in Jesus forget politicking and ask for mercy. Then peace will come. Am your brother and your my sister in Jesus 's name. Remember all evil people are studip natureally or their idiots because they don't care about human suffering.
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