December 23, 2013 (JUBA) – The 11 senior South Sudanese politicians, mainly ex-ministers, detained in connection with the ongoing unrest in the country have called for peaceful dialogue and national reconciliation.
- U.S. special envoy Donald Booth talks to reporters after a meeting with the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti (SUNA)
The detainees expressed their desires on Monday upon meeting Donald Booth, the US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan.
Booth, who had earlier met South Sudan president Salva Kiir, admitted that those detained were “secure and well taken care of”.
“These individuals communicated to me their desire and their readiness to play a constructive role in ending the crisis through peaceful political dialogue and national reconciliation”, the US envoy said in a statement issued Monday.
"I will be following up to see how the government may utilise this constructive position", he added.
South Sudan has witnessed the worst violence in its post-secession era, with an estimated over 500 people killed over 60,000 displaced in various parts of the country after violence broke out in the capital, Juba on 15 December.
President Kiir largely blames his former deputy Riek Machar orchestrating the clashes. But Machar claims it was a ploy by the regime to get rid of those opposed to current leadership.
But Kiir, according to Booth, has expressed willingness for talks with Machar without any preconditions so as to end the current crisis.
Meanwhile, the US special envoy welcomed the recent political engagement of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in South Sudan, encouraging it to play a key role in engaging government and opposition in to meaningful dialogue.
“The United States emphasizes the urgency of the situation and stands ready to support these efforts as necessary”, said Booth.
Last week, the US secretary of state John Kerry said his country “believes very strongly that all parties should refrain from any actions that could further escalate the tensions”.
“Political differences need to be resolved by peaceful and democratic means, and those have been hard fought for. The government should respect the rule of law, and the people of South Sudan should be able to realise their full potential in peace”, Kerry told reporters from the Philippines.