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U.N chief pledges to support "inclusive" dialogue in S. Sudan

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February 22, 2017 (JUBA) - The head of the United Nations mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer said the world’s body would support an inclusive dialogue process, involving all stakeholders for "genuine" peace to prevail across the country.

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The Special Representative of the U.N Secretary General in South Sudan David Shearer, February 1, 2017 (ST)

Shearer, who also doubles as the Special Representative of the U.N Secretary General, welcomed the dialogue initiative President Salva Kiir announced last year.

“I think the most important thing for us is to make sure that any national dialogue is inclusive, that means we are looking at the widest range of actors coming in to that. If we are going to be genuine seeking peace and reconciliation, then we have spread the dialogue wider,” said Shearer.

The official said the world body has considerable experience which could benefit the government if it uses it to achieve the objective for which the dialogue was initiated.

“For the United Nations, our issue is that we have had a considerable amount of experience with national dialogues across the world and have couple of experts here over the past weeks in terms of reading a national dialogue, and what we have learned from other places, we are ready to provide that support to the government as they progress forward,” he explained.

NO POWER CONSOLIDATION

The South Sudanese president Salva Kiir said Tuesday that the national dialogue he declared in December last year was not meant to consolidate his grip on to power.

"I also want to make it absolutely clear to those who question and doubt our intentions and to our regional and international partners that the National Dialogue initiative is not a trick, a delaying tactic or a calculated strategy by the government to consolidate its grip on power as anti-peace elements claim”, he told MPs Tuesday.

President Kiir said he saw no logic of playing tricks, but was working to protect the sovereignty, territorial integrity of the country and uniting people as part of his duties.

“We are not in the business of playing trick, we are a government and our business is to work for the unity of the people of South Sudan, protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this land and to uphold our constitutional and international obligations, he added.

The South Sudanese leader, however, called upon members of the country’s opposition and partners to the 2015 peace deal to put aside doubts and join him and members of his administration in the restoration of peace by uniting the population.

“I therefore call upon our partners and those in opposition to cast any doubts aside and join the national dialogue as we genuinely seek to restore peace and security through unity of our people," stressed the president.

The dialogue initiative, according to the South Sudanese leader, would encompass all the country’s rival political parties and groups. He further said a number of eminent statesmen, who are "trusted", "genuine" and "credible" would lead the dialogue.

"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 nationhood, and sense of belonging," said Kiir during the launch of the dialogue initiative in December last year.

"In the light of national endeavour, I am calling upon all of you to forgive one another, enter dialogue with one another in your personal capacities, embrace yourself," he added, stressing the need for the population to forgive him as a leader.

A dialogue committee has been earmarked to work with independent experts from Juba-based think tanks such as the Ebony Center for Strategic Studies, Sudd Institute and the Centre for Peace and Development.

(ST)

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