News / Africa

South Sudan Marks Third Independence Day, Despite War

FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) hold a priest's hands before signing an earlier peace agreement in Addis Ababa May 9, 2014.FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) hold a priest's hands before signing an earlier peace agreement in Addis Ababa May 9, 2014.
x
FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) hold a priest's hands before signing an earlier peace agreement in Addis Ababa May 9, 2014.
FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) hold a priest's hands before signing an earlier peace agreement in Addis Ababa May 9, 2014.
James Butty

South Sudan Wednesday is commemorating the third anniversary of its separation from Sudan.  

But, some say there’s very little to celebrate in the midst of a civil war that has displaced much of the country’s population, famine on the horizon, and corruption.  

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Tuesday urged President Salva Kiir and rebel leader and former Vice President Riek Machar to live up to the expectations of their people by laying down their arms and returning to the negotiating table.

Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said South Sudanese have a lot to celebrate because they have freedom.  He said the rebels, who he describes as “trouble makers,” have been obstructing negotiations aimed at ending the civil war.

“Preparations are on time.  It is a great jubilation that we are getting to the third year of our independence, and the people of the Republic of South Sudan, despite the rebellion, are ready to celebrate their Independence Day in jubilation and happiness.  And, we believe that we will overcome the challenges we have,” he said.

Benjamin says South Sudan will emerge from its conflict just like most other countries that have had similar problems.

“There is no country on the continent that has not had crisis, including countries like South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, and everywhere there are problems, but you don’t forget the essence of your dignity and freedom. And that’s why we celebrate,” Benjamin said.

Peace talks being mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, have been stalled due to disagreement over the participation of civil society organizations and faith-based groups.

The rebels have boycotted the talks, arguing that civil society organizations, religious groups and other political parties should not be part of negotiations.

Benjamin said the rebels, whom he describes as “trouble makers,” have been obstructing negotiations aimed at ending the civil war.

“It is the rebels, especially the leader of the rebels, Dr. Riek Machar, who had written to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, who is the chair of IGAD, saying that they will not come to the talks if the stakeholders are included in the negotiation process.  So, the talks are held up because of the rebel position, not the position of the government, and I think the United Nations is aware of that,” Benjamin said.

He said there is corruption everywhere, including in South Sudan.  But, Benjamin said Kiir has dealt with the menace by weeding out the corrupt officials of government.

“Corruption is everywhere throughout the world, including where you are. But, that cannot make people really to forget the vision of their freedom. And, the government is doing a lot in order to curb corruption.  That’s why the government was able also to make some reshuffle, where some were taken out of the government,” Benjamin said.

Butty interview with Benjamin
Butty interview with Benjamini
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

 

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid