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Ugandan leader calls for talks to end South Sudan conflict

March 18, 2017 (JUBA) – The Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni said the conflict in South Sudan would only come to an end if the parties at war return to the negotiating table, stressing that a war would not solve the problem.

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President Salva Kiir (L) shakes hands with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni (R) after signing a peace agreement on August 26, 2015 (Photo AFP /Charles Lomodong)

“The warring groups must hold negotiations aimed at two things, holding elections and reforming the security sector,” said Museveni on Friday during a meeting with a visiting the Chinese Special Representative on African Affairs.

The Ugandan leader appreciated the involvement from the Chinese government in the process of seeking a way to end the conflict in South Sudan. “We discussed the situation in South Sudan. Glad China is taking interest in this conflict,” he said.

According to President Museveni’s official twitter account, he met Xu Jinghu, the Chinese Government Special Representative on African Affairs and her delegation on Friday at the State House.

President Museveni, who has been a lifeline and the only close political ally in the region of President Salva Kiir for the period of conflict in the country, attributed the conflict in the country to the leadership failure to guide the people of the country, stating the group did not have clear headed leadership.

“The main problem in South Sudan is ideological. The groups there do not have a clear headed leadership to guide the people about their future. They push the pseudo ideology of sectarianism of tribes & yet this is detrimental to the people’s well being. Force can’t solve the conflict,” said the Ugandan leader.

Museveni called on the “warring groups” to hold negotiations with the aim to establish a security sector and hold elections. His call for negotiation follows a similar call made by American lawmakers on President Donald Trump to appoint a high Special Envoy.

12 United States Senators and Congressmen, in a letter dated 24 February 2017, called on US newly elected President Donald J. Trump, to appoint a new high-level Special Envoy for South Sudan and Sudan with International Status to bring the “urgently needed diplomatic leadership to international efforts to achieve a sustainable peace in and between the two countries”.

The Senators also called on the Africa Union through its high-level representative to South Sudan, to reinvigorate an inclusive political process to end South Sudans’ conflict. While President Donald Trump is yet to respond, the regional leaders have begun to talk about inclusive process instead of taking side.

Omar Hassan el Bashir, Sudan President called for an inclusive political process, saying that South Sudan would not have peace without including the leader of armed opposition, Riek Machar. Bashir said that Machar controls wide areas in the country.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir also indicated his readiness to pardon Machar if he denounces violence.