August 10, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir on Sunday said opposition leader, Riek Machar could become the country’s second vice-president, if he agrees to join his government.
- President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signe a peace deal in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 9 May 2014 aimed at resolving conflict in South Sudan (Photo: AFP/Zacharias Abubeker)
Speaking at Juba airport on arrival from the United States where he attended the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, Kiir disclosed that the international community had demanded for the creation of a prime minister’s position, something he opposed.
“They [international community] said what should we do? How do we bring peace? I said if you want these people to join the government, I can expand my government and bring people that I want to work with,” said the president.
“If Riek Machar wants to be in the government, I can create for him a position. I will bring Riek to be second vice president after vice president James Wani Igga,” he added.
The South Sudanese leader, however, stressed that Machar was only capable of succeeding him as president upon winning an election.
“If he [Machar] does not want [to be second vice president], let him stay outside there and wait for the elections. If he defeats me in the election, he will be the president,” said Kiir as the crowd applauded.
Machar, the country’s longest serving vice-president, was sacked in July 2013 after openly declared his intention to challenge Kiir for the ruling party (SPLM) chairmanship. Several disagreements within the party later culminated into violence, nearly escalating into full-scale war.
The opposition announced on Saturday that they had resumed talks with the government delegation as the sixty day ultimatum agreed on by both warring parties elapsed without any tangible results.
Leaders from the East African regional bloc (IGAD) vowed to impose tough measures should any of the warring sides frustrate the ongoing negotiations seeking to end the nearly eight month-old conflict.