March 11, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudan president, Salva Kiir said rebel leader Riek Machar would only participate in the national dialogue when he denounces violence.
“How do you dialogue with someone who prefers war than peace, who sees war as an option to dialogue, unity, forgiveness and peaceful coexistence”, asked Kiir.
The South Sudanese made these remarks on Saturday while reacting to a query on whether his pardoning of political opponents, some of whom have been in detention, would extend to those carrying arms and have continued to wage war in the country.
According to Kiir, some contentious issues in the peace accord have been overcome because of the "good working relations" with First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai.
“Some of things that we could not resolve and find a way forward have now been resolved. The issue of states has been resolved. The people were talking that we created more states but it became clear that even after we created more states, people continued to ask for more. To resolve this, we decided to create some states," stressed the South Sudanese leader.
He added, "Now we have more states and the SPLM-IO have some states to run them according to the provision of the peace agreement. So issues of states and the question relating to power sharing have been addressed and there is no problem".
Kiir said the newly-appointed state governors already started work in their regions.
"They have taken oath already and are now in their places”, he explained.
The South Sudanese leader emphasized that he has no personal problem with his former deputy-turned rebel leader, but claimed the latter desires violent means.
“People think I have a personal problem with him [Machar], but this is not true. I have no personal problem with him. He is a South Sudanese like anybody. The problem he has is not with me, but with the way he does his own things. He likes violence. If he denounces violence now, then he is welcome to the country. If he does it now, stop preferring war now, we will talk to him”, stressed Kiir.
Kiir made these remarks while meeting members of the Dinka council of elders who visited him to congratulate him on Friday’s national prayer day.
President Salva Kiir announced the national dialogue initiative in December last year and members of its steering committee are scheduled to be sworn in this month.
However, the armed opposition leader criticized the dialogue initiative, saying the process will never succeed unless peace and stability is restored in the young nation.