South Sudan leader signs peace deal, but doubts implementation

2015-08-27 08:08
South Sudan President Salva Kiir. (File, AFP)

South Sudan President Salva Kiir. (File, AFP)

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Juba (dpa) - South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Wednesday signed a peace deal already approved by rebel leader Riek Machar in an attempt to end their 20-month military conflict, but at the same time cast doubt on its implementation.

"I will sign the document, but I want you, the regional leaders, to support us in implementing it, otherwise we may spoil it if left alone," Kiir was quoted as saying by Eye radio at the ceremony attended by the leaders of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.

The report said Kiir had "reservations" about the deal, brokered by the east African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Machar signed the agreement in Addis Ababa on August 18.

"I know some might have reservations. You must look at peace," said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"The most important thing is to implement this agreement," Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said.

Necessary step

"This is not a just war. It is an unjust war in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Kiir signed the pact six days after the United States circulated a draft resolution at the UN Security Council that would have imposed an arms embargo and additional sanctions on South Sudan unless a ceasefire was signed.

The US welcomed Kiir's decision but stressed Washington does not recognise any reservations or addendums to the deal.

"The United States believes this is the necessary first step toward ending the conflict and rebuilding the country," National Security Advisor Susan Rice said. "Now the hard work begins. Implementing this agreement will require commitment and resolve from all parties to the conflict as well as South Sudan's regional and international partners."

The agreement foresees a transitional power-sharing and security arrangement to end the fighting, which has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than 2.2 million people.

Humanitarian assistance

The document also stipulates the framework for a permanent ceasefire, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction as well as institutional reforms.

A string of previous ceasefires has failed to stop the fighting that broke out when a power struggle between Kiir and Machar turned violent mid-December 2013.

More than 1.6 million people have been internally displaced and more than 600 000 have fled to neighbouring states, while about 200 000 have sought refuge in UN bases, according to the United Nations. About 4.6 million people could face a famine.

UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that horrendous human rights violations were reported in the country, including "rampant killing, rape, abduction, looting, arson and forced displacement" as well as burning people inside their homes.

"There is evidence of deliberate ethnic targeting," he said.

Read more on:    un  |  salva kiir  |  south sudan  |  east africa

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