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President Kiir pardons SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar

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President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar in Khartoum on 26 June 2018 (Photo SUNA)

August 8, 2018 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has pardoned the leader of the main armed opposition group, SPLM-IO, Riek Machar after nearly five years of fighting, said a presidential decree released on Wednesday.

In accordance with the Republican Order Number 14/2018 the President granted a "general amnesty to the leader of SPLM-IO Dr Riek Machar Teny and other estranged groups who waged war against the Government of the Republic of South Sudan from 2013 to date."

Kiir and Machar signed on Sunday an agreement on the outstanding issues of governance chapter concluding a series of talks to revitalize a peace deal signed in August 2015.

President Kiir was strongly opposed to Machar participation in the 30-month transitional period but under regional pressure, he accepted to appoint him as First Vice-President.

The negotiating teams of the South Sudanese parties resumed talks on the modalities of implementation of the peace agreement. After what, a final peace agreement will be signed in Khartoum.

The South Sudanese TV which reported the pardon said the President reiterated his full commitment to the peace agreement including the ceasefire and its implementation. However, he directed the army to remain vigilant to defend the country and to repel any aggression in self-defence.

Presidency keen to implement peace

Following a meeting of the South Sudanese presidency including President Kiir, FVP Taban Deng Gai and VP James Wani Igga, the leadership stressed its support for the peace agreement and its full implementation.

Vice President James Wani described the toughly negotiated governance and power-sharing agreement as ’’historic" and pointed that South Sudanese are the real owners of the revitalized agreement.

He further disclosed that the President will brief the governors of the states in a date to be determined very soon instead of next Wednesday.

In a related development, Kiir met with the splinter rebel leader Maj. Gen. Julius Tabuley Daniel who broke away from the National Salvation Front of Thomas Cirillo Swaka.

(ST)