South Sudan: President Kiir announces unilateral ceasefire

Elias Hubbard
May 25, 2017

In a rare sign of hope for the fledgling nation, President Salva Kiir has announced a unilateral ceasefire, and ordered the nation's prosecutor general to review the cases against the nation's many political prisoners, with an eye toward releasing many of them.

The South Sudanese leader said the ceasefire seeks to create conducive environment for the just-started national dialogue and also allow safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid.

Kiir also declared unilateral ceasefire with the rebels but vowed to fight back if his forces are attacked.

South Sudan's largest rebel movement (SPLM-IO) have declined to participate in the national dialogue initiative launched by the South Sudanese leader on Monday, a spokesman for the rebel group told Xinhua on Tuesday. The conflict in South Sudan has also seen thousands of citizens flee to Uganda as refugees.

"Although many critics doubted our intentions, we have listened to the voices of our people and their call for an inclusive dialogue process".

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, African Union representatives, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development members and heads of diplomatic missions attended the ceremony.

Museveni also called on regional and global partners to support the dialogue process for the sake of peace in South Sudan.

He said South Sudanese should unite through the national dialogue to resolve outstanding issues that lead to violence in the country.

The co-chair of the National Dialogue Steering Committee, NDSC, is urging the government to ensure unhindered freedom of the press during the process.Angelo Beda appealed to President Salva Kiir to allow national and global media houses to operate freely once it begins.

"All the anti-peace elements must join this dialogue", Biswaro said.

South Sudan plunged into civil war when a long-running political feud between Kiir and his sacked deputy Machar exploded into violence, much of it along ethnic lines.

He wished South Sudan "good luck" in the process.

Museveni said the people of South Sudan should stop misusing their identities as members of ethnic and tribal groups in the expense of their own prosperity.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under United Nations pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government in April, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.

The UN estimates 50,000 people were killed in the conflict and more than 2m of the 12m population were forced to flee their homes.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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