South Sudan: Opposition Parties Reject Kiir's "Red Line" Position in Negotiations

Juba — Political parties in South Sudan said they have rejected drawing of "red lines" by the warring parties in the stalled peace negotiations in Addis Ababa in order to end the six-month old political crisis in the country.

On Thursday leaders and representatives of the association of 21 political parties, including the main opposition leader, Lam Akol, held a press conference in Juba in which they urged president Salva Kiir and opposition leader, Riek Machar, to get their delegations back to direct negotiations to reach a political solution and form an interim government.

President Salva Kiir this week while addressing the national parliament said removing him from his job as demanded by the rebels in the proposed interim government was a "red line" that should not be crossed. He argued that he was elected by the people and should remain the president till next elections.

He also told parliamentarians to fight for their jobs, warning that the call by the rebels to restructure the state on the basis of a federal system would also dissolve the current membership in parliament.

However, South Sudanese political parties, many of whom are in government, said in negotiations there was need for flexibility and compromises, warning it was harmful to draw red lines.

"We the people of South Sudan must rise above our individual group and party interests and put the interests of our country above any other considerations," partly reads the press release.

"Until now they have not even agreed on the agenda of the negotiations," charged Lam Akol, chairman of SPLM-DC and member of the government delegation to the negotiations representing the other political parties.

"In addition to what was said by Dr. Lam, we as political parties we cannot agree with red lines. There is no red line. This is a negotiation," announced Garang Thuch Garang, PURE party chairman.

The parties reigned on the two rival factions to resume the talks without any delay, calling on them to expedite the process and end the bloodshed in the new country.

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