September 19, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudanese government under the leadership of President Salva Kiir on Monday revealed that it was in talks with General Peter Gatdet Yak, former Deputy Chief of General Staff in the opposition group led by Riek Machar. He defected from Machar in 2015.
- General Peter Gatdet Yak addressing a conference in Pagak, South Sudan, April 20, 2015 (ST photo)
The government said approaching the defected army General through dialogue was important for consolidating peace and stability in the country.
“This country called South Sudan needs all of us to cooperate. This is our country. There is no need to destroy it. The solution can’t be achieved through holding weapons. It can be found around the table of dialogue. There is nothing which cannot be solved. The president of the republic is ready to bring peace through peaceful dialogue,” Tut Kew Gatluak, Presidential Advisor on Security Affairs, said on Monday.
The presidential aide was reacting to reports that the president has approved behind the scene talks with the hold out armed and non-opposition leaders as a political strategy and tactics to weaken the support base of his main political rival and armed opposition leader, Machar.
Several government officials have repeatedly claimed in a series of interviews with Sudan Tribune on Sunday that General Peter Gatdet Yak has indicated readiness to abandon the armed struggle and return to Juba.
Yak, according to presidential sources, had allegedly spoken numerous times to the president through his security advisor during which he demanded a position of deputy commander in chief, a post which does not exist in the constitution but previously created to accommodate late Paulino Matip Nhial.
It remains unclear whether the president will accept or which position he will have to create for him.
Observers say President Kiir and his new First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai are jointly working on a strategy to influence Yak and several other opposition leaders to abandon armed struggle and return.
“We are all South Sudanese and it is therefore our duty to collectively reject any political decision by some politicians that starts with the shedding of blood,” Gatluak told Sudan Tribune on Monday.
General Yak is currently living in Nairobi, Kenya, after he left Khartoum, Sudan, two weeks ago.