South Sudan: Salva Kiir promises peace in 2018
South Sudan President Salva Kiir has promised his government will comply with the country’s ceasefire and do everything it can to establish peace in 2018.
Speaking during his Christmas Day address at the St Theresa Cathedral in Juba, the president said his government’s top priority for the year ahead is bringing peace to the country. His pledge came a day after rebel forces accused government soldiers of violating a new ceasefire that came into effect just hours before.
Kiir makes pledge for peace
“We must recommit ourselves to the course of peace, and extend a hand of unity and friendship across all the divides in the country,” Kiir told his audience on Monday.
The president insisted that he had issued orders for the immediate implementation of the ceasefire agreed last week, despite reports of continued fighting between government troops and rebel forces.
“I trust that our partners are also negotiating in the same good faith for the benefit of all citizens in South Sudan,” Kirr added.
“The sooner we can come to the final and meaningful agreement, the sooner we can reenergise the implementation process and get South Sudan back on the path of prosperity.”
Ceasefire tarnished by accusations
South Sudan’s peace deal came into effect on Christmas Eve at 00:01 but the country’s main rebel group accused government troops of starting violence hours later. The government responded by insisting that rebel forces had instigated the violence in a familiar trade of accusations during peace agreements.
However, Salva Kiir insists that the ceasefire agreement signifies that an end to South Sudan’s four-year civil war is coming to an end, promising that his government is determined to adhere to the terms of the agreement and negotiate with opposition groups.
Featured image: “Salva Kiir, the president of southern Sudan” flickr photo by Al Jazeera English https://flickr.com/photos/aljazeeraenglish/5335499393 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license