7 August 2014

South Sudan: Prepared Statement by President Kiir for Press Briefing

Photo: JC McIlwaine/UN
Thousands of South Sudanese civilians are living in camps under the protection of United Nations peacekeepers.
press conference

Washington, DC — Prepared Statement by President Salva Kiir - Press Briefing

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press. Thank you very much indeed for coming.

I called you here to give you a quick overview and perhaps, a better understanding of the situation in South Sudan today.

I do realize that a lot of what is being written in the international media about South Sudan is based on inaccurate or incomplete information.

But first if all, let me take the opportunity to thank President Barack Obama and the Government of the United States for inviting us to historic meeting that brings together a good majority of our African leaders; including those from the business community.

We the people of South Sudan do hope that this marks the beginning of an important chapter in our ongoing relations with the US. My country hopes that with the US Government’s support, we not only be able to resolve some of our current political problems but also will have American investors come into South Sudan for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

I know that your most important concern is the recent political crisis was most unfortunate. It should never really have happened. Nevertheless, we are committed to dealing with its unfortunate consequences.

First, I want to assure you and all people throughout the world that my government is fully committed to a speedy process of national reconciliation; full recovery and long-term prosperity for sake of all South Sudanese people.

That is what I promised Secretary Kerry yesterday and that is the roadmap we intend to follow. Accordingly, may I therefore, re-affirm that I am fully committed to the peaceful resolution of this conflict within the framework that is already in place under the regional inter-Governmental Authority (IGAD) and the African Union.

I believe that the IGAD process will iron out the critical issues, including matters pertaining to the formation of a broad-based Government of national unity is fully responsive to our complex diversities.

Secondly, I reiterate that I bear no permanent grudge with the rebel who tried to take over power through unconstitutional means. And I say this because I honestly believe that South Sudan deserves having all its sons and daughters, contributing to the task of nation-building. We must never again be dragged back into an endless war.

Many of you may wish to know that I spent thirty years of my own life fighting of the freedom and independence of my country and I can assure you that I know better than most people that real battles are not won under combat. Dialogue and national reconciliation is therefore uppermost on our agenda.

The third issue concerns the famine and humanitarian crisis that has been widely talked about in the international media. Let me emphasis that the people of South Sudan will welcome the international community and all people of good will, to join hands with us in dealing with the famine crisis if it escalates to that level.

More importantly, my appeal is to United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMISS) and all other humanitarian agencies that are working in South Sudan, to work with us in ascertaining the facts and coordinating a swift response.

We need to have a more accurate sense of the numbers if those affected and their exact locations so that the government can effectively plan and also be assisted in resolving the crisis on a long-term and sustainable basis.

On the political issues, I have already stated that we will fully support the IGAD process. We are also already working with the civil society and traditional leaders on a NATIONAL DIALOGUE and reconciliation effort that needs to be reinforced by all sides.
In conclusion:

There is an unfortunate perception that South Sudan is caught up in an inter-ethnic or inter-tribal war.

Let me state here and unequivocally; South Sudan is not engaged in an inter-ethnic or inter-tribal war.

My government, the army, civil society in all its expressions, are all reflective of the multi-ethnic composition of our society. I invite you ladies and gentlemen of the press to come to South Sudan and to cross-check the facts closely before you too contribute to perpetuation claims that only fans the division and strife in South Sudan.

Thank you.

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