May 2, 2014 (JUBA) – US secretary of state John Kerry said South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir was ready to discuss a transitional government with rebels “to bring peace and restore legitimacy”.
- US secretary of state John Kerry addresses reporters in the South Sudan capital, Juba, on 2 May 2014 (ST)
Addressing reporters at the US embassy in the capital, Juba, Kerry said mediation efforts should be faster to save lives of innocent civilians dying from the conflict.
“Throughout the meeting, I made it clear to him (Kiir) that he needs do everything in his power to end the violence,” Kerry said on Friday.
“And also to begin the process of national dialogue – a process by which there is a beginning of discussion, real discussion about a transition government that can bring peace to the country,” he added.
According to Kerry, the South Sudan leader reiterated his government’s commitment to fully support the ongoing peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
“He (Kiir) committed very clearly his intention to do exactly that – to take forceful steps in order ... to begin to engage on a discussion with respective to transition government,” he said.
The senior US official had earlier warned of possible genocide in South Sudan unless concerted measures were taken to rapidly arrest ongoing violence in the country.
CALLS FOR LEGITIMACY
Kerry emphasised that both sides must end the violence or face possible sanctions. He however said president Kiir had willingly accepted to meet rebel leader Riek Machar over the conflict.
Violence broke out in December after president Kiir accused his former deputy, Machar of attempting to overthrow the government, an allegation the latter dismissed.
Kerry said there was no “equivalency” between president Kiir, an elected president, and rebel leader Machar “who wants to take control of the state by use of arms”.
He said the two warring parties and the former political detainees, with the help of the mediators, will determine the future of the two leaders in the transitional government.
“It (the transition government) is really what can restore legitimacy,” Kerry said.