Rebel leader and former South Sudan vice president Riek Machar says he is disappointed after failing to reach a peace agreement with President Salva Kiir to resolve the country’s conflict.
The peace talks mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regional bloc in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, failed to meet a deadline after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution to impose sanctions if the two groups fail to come up with a detailed power-sharing agreement.
Machar says he is not to blame for the failure to reach an agreement at the peace talks.
“I am disappointed that there was no agreement… on most of the topics that were referred to us,” said Machar. “We are looking forward to that new mechanism that would be devised.”
Both President Kiir and Machar were involved in three-day face-to-face talks with hopes that a deal could be reached to help resolve South Sudan’s conflict.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn plans to come up with a new “mechanism” to help resolve the conflict in the world’s newest nation.
Some South Sudanese say Machar is to blame for the conflict after the government accused him of attempting to overthrow the administration in Juba.
Machar disagreed. “We have tried our best to negotiate a peaceful settlement, but the government is bent to win a military victory and they are already on the offensive fighting us on many fronts, and as you know we only reacted to what the government has been doing. We are not the ones who caused the conflict. It was caused by the government. We want a peaceful solution after this conflict has happened,” he added.
Reuters news agency published an account of a leaked African Union report which called for both Kiir and Machar to be barred from a transitional government and for the war-torn country to be placed under A.U. control.
Marchar again disagreed with the leaked report.
‘For peace to come, I think it is us who will bring about peace,” said Machar. “Removal of both of us depends on what the people of South Sudan would say. It is not dependent on anybody else but the people of South Sudan and are the ones who can make decisions on our political future,” he said.
Fighting erupted in South Sudan in December 2013, six months after President Kiir fired Machar as vice president.
The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced nearly two million from their homes.