December 15, 2016 (JUBA) – The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), the body overseeing implementation of peace agreement in South Sudan, said it is “delighted” after President Salva Kiir called for national dialogue in the country.
- Botswana’s former president Festus Mogae (Photo File AFP)
“The President has seized a critical opportunity for national reconciliation, appealed for a spirit of forgiveness and togetherness and set in motion a genuine campaign to address the concerns and grievances of the South Sudanese people,” said Festus Mogae, the chairman of JMEC and former President of Botswana.
President Kiir announced an inclusive dialogue which he says will be led by “eminent personalities” accepted as credible, genuine and trusted by all rival parties in the country. President Kiir did not mention his main rival Riek Machar in the speech but insisted that armed groups opposition to his government will be presented from grassroots level.
Mogae welcomed the initiative in a statement released late on Wednesday.
“I am delighted to hear President Kiir reach out to his people with such strong and heartfelt words and launch this much-needed National Dialogue initiative,” he said.
“I applaud his leadership and I give my assurance that JMEC will support the National Dialogue in any way we can,” he added.
The South Sudanese on Wednesday launched a national dialogue that, he said, will be led by the nation’s eminent statesmen that are "trusted, genuine and credible."
Addressing members of South Sudan national legislative assembly one the capital, Juba on Wednesday, President Kiir asked for forgiveness for wrongs committed.
"National dialogue in my view is both a forum and process through which the people of South Sudan can gather to redefine the basis of their unity as it relates to nationhoo, and sense of belonging," the president told the country’s lawmakers.
"In the light of national endeavor, I am calling upon all of you to forgive one another, enter dialogue with one another in your personal capacities, embrace yourself," he added.
A national committee of eminent persons will be instituted to steer the process, The committee will work with independent experts from Juba-based think tanks such as the Ebony Center, Sudd Institute and Centre for Peace and Development.
The three institutions will also constitute secretariat work for the committee.