News / Africa

    South Sudan President Kiir ‘Committed’ to Peace Talks

    sudan kiir
    sudan kiir
    Peter Clottey
    South Sudan’s foreign minister says President Salva Kiir is committed to a peaceful political settlement to the ongoing civil conflict as the warring factions begin peace negotiations in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

    Barnaba Marial Benjamin says Mr. Kiir is willing to hold face-to-face talks with his sacked former vice president Riek Machar.  The talks are sanctioned by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional bloc.

    In an interview with VOA, foreign minister Benjamin says Machar is to blame for the political crisis that led to the “disaster.”  Representatives of the two warring factions are in Ethiopia as part of negotiating efforts to resolve the conflict.

    “We hope the government team will negotiate to try to resolve the crisis,” said Benjamin.  “We are optimistic this would have to be resolved by talking to each other.  The government is determined to see that this thing is resolved because we are not interested for our people to die in a senseless war really.” 

    Clashes

    According to the United Nations the clashes that began last month have left at least 1,000 people dead and tens of thousands displaced from their homes in Africa’s newest nation.

    The wave of violence in South Sudan continues, despite calls by regional leaders, the African Union, and the international community for a ceasefire to allow peace negotiations to the end the conflict.

    The violence erupted after President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, accused the former vice president, Riek Machar, a Nuer, of attempting a coup.  Mr. Macher, who is in hiding, has denied the accusation.

    Coup Accusation

    Some observers say President Kiir’s coup accusation appears to have lost traction due to the lack of evidence to support it.  Benjamin insists there was a coup attempt to topple the Kiir administration.

    “It is known by all standards that if somebody wants to change an elected democratic government and authority and you want to change that government through the use of force, that is what is called a coup,” said Benjamin.

    “The pronouncement of Dr. Riek [Machar] was that he wanted to become the president of this country ... that is why now he is attacking government positions and taking over places, appointing people to constitutional posts in those areas where he has obtained authority.  What will you call that?” he asked.

    Benjamin says the national army is carrying out its constitutional mandate to protect the country’s territorial integrity in the conflict.

    “If there is a rebellion that targets government institutions and government authority, it is the duty of that country to defend the authority and the sovereignty of the country including the protection of its citizens,” said Benjamin.  “The government is in self-defense of a constitutional position, and I hope the cessation of hostilities will come as a result of some agreement to be done at the peace talks.”

    News reports say ethnic tension between the two groups is fueling the conflict, with members of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups targeting each other.

    Benjamin says President Kiir is ready to hold direct talks with Machar.

    “As soon as that is requested by the IGAD countries at Addis Ababa and by the negotiating team should there come a time where it would now need the intervention, direct talks between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, he would in fact respond to that immediately,” said Benjamin. 

    He expressed hope the Addis Ababa talks would lead to a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

    Clottey interv with Barnaba Marial Benjamin,South Sudan's foreign minister
    Clottey interv with Barnaba Marial Benjamin,South Sudan's foreign ministeri
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora