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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid