South Sudan on Monday reiterated its commitment to the ongoing peace talks in Khartoum, dispelling fresh doubts and fears by the U.S. that President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar lack requisite leadership needed to bring peace.
Mawien Makol Ariik, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, said Kiir has already demonstrated commitment and leadership at the peace talks mediated by the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
Meanwhile, he has said he will agree to the outcome of the peace talks.
“We have already taken steps to bring peace and I don’t think anybody can doubt President Kiir’s commitment to bring peace to South Sudan,’’ Makol told newsmen in Juba.
He said the South Sudanese people need continued support from the U.S to bring peace at the round of talks overseen by the East African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which mediated the now weakened 2015 peace agreement.
This came after the Donald Trump administration in a statement on Sunday expressed deep concerns and doubts over the two warring leaders reaching peace in Khartoum in addition to the talks lacking inclusivity.
“We are deeply concerned about the direction of the current peace process, a narrow agreement between elites will not solve the problems plaguing South Sudan,’’ the White House said.
He added that civil society, women and religious leaders should be included in the peace process.
“South Sudan’s political leaders including President Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Machar have not demonstrated the leadership required to bring genuine peace and accountable governance to South Sudan,’’ the White House said.
It further disclosed that Washington will not be guarantor of any agreement.
It will not also fund or call for additional UN resources to support the transitional government in the absence of a sustained, demonstrated commitment to peace, inclusivity, financial accountability and good governance.
The South Sudan warring parties prior to postponing talks in Khartoum for further consultation already agreed to permanent ceasefire and security arrangements.
They have also expressed commitment to hammer out the latest details on the governance and power-sharing agreement which will produce five vice presidents and increase the number of parliamentarians to 550.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
A 2015 peace agreement was shattered when the warring parties renewed fighting in July 2016 in the capital, forcing rebel leader Riek Machar to flee into exile.
Report says the UN estimates about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.