South Sudan president says “imposed” peace never lasts

September 13, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir believes that an imposed peace will never last, said the newly appointed Islamic affairs aide, pointing to the challenges the transitional government and the various stakeholders are currently experiencing in the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement.

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South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir, seen in Addis Ababa on January 29, 2015 (Photo AFP Zacharias Abubeker)

The president made the remarks during the swearing-in ceremony of the country’s presidential adviser on Islamic affairs, Sheikh Juma Ali who was recently appointed a presidential adviser for the Islamic Affairs after the death of Al-Tahir Bior Lueth Ajak last February.

“The president of the republic is fully committed to end the war, bring peace and move the country forward. As the faith based groups and as citizens of this country, we will work together with his excellency the president of the republic and other stakeholders to ensure we move in the direction that explores ways which are appropriate and peculiar to our situation,” Ali told Sudan Tribune.

The presidential aide admitted South Sudan’s major priority was to end the war in order to bring peace in the country rather than pursuing punitive measures above peace, based on the perception that peace without justice does not address root causes of the ongoing conflict.

“These kinds of arguments undermine (the ongoing) efforts and the desire to bring peace. The president was very clear on this and his approach is to end war first and by ending the war, it means the process should be imposed,” further stressed the aide.

He further added, “If you impose peace, it will not last because the parties for which the agreement was imposed will never cooperate”.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 when political disagreements within its ruling party triggered an outbreak of a current civil war. The conflict has displaced millions of people.

Last week, the South Sudanese leader said he was more concerned about the situation in the war-torn nation, but equally voiced his rejection of any peace deal imposed from outside the country.

“There are people who come with conditions instead of coming to listen to us, to what we have done and how we intend to overcome challenges and way forward,” he told religious leaders in the capital, Juba.

The South Sudanese president said he was personally committed to ending the war in the country, stressing that one side alone would not stop the situation if there is no reciprocation of the same.

“I know that in order for any agreement to endure, peace cannot be imposed from the outside. It must be negotiated directly by the leaders who are required to make the hard choices and compromises that take on history,” further stressed Kiir.

“We are determined to stop this war, even without being threatened because these are our people and the country is ours,” he added.

The head of the United States aid arm (USAID), Mark Green had earlier Kiir to stop the war and allow unfettered humanitarian access.

But Kiir appeared unmoved by Green’s remarks, despite being told the US plans a complete review of its policies towards South Sudan.

“We came out from a similar situation before and so I have a confidence we will also come out of this situation,” said Kiir.

One of the countries that recognized South Sudan’s independence in 2011, the US played a key role in helping create the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that laid the groundwork for the 2011 referendum, through which South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted for independence.

Currently, the US government remains the leading international donor to South Sudan and provides significant humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese citizens displaced or otherwise affected since the start of the country’s crisis in December 2013.