February 22, 2017 (JUBA) – The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), which oversees implementation of South Sudan’s peace deal, has commended President Salva Kiir for widening the national dialogue initiative to involved more opposition actors in the country.
- JMEC Chairman, Festus Mogae, briefs the UN Security Council, on the implementation of the peace agreement on 31 March 2016 (ST Photo)
The chairman of JMEC Festus Mogae and the South Sudanese leader met on Tuesday in the nation’s capital, Juba to discuss areas of cooperation.
The closed door meeting, JMEC officials disclosed, focused on the national dialogue as a “gateway to peaceful co-existence among warring communities.
“I thanked the President for his emphasis and intentions to implement the much-needed national dialogue which we expect all South Sudanese will take participate,” Mogae, the former Botwana president, told reporters in Juba.
The JMEC heads also applauded the president for visiting Yei early this month.
“Such initiatives will help in cementing national healing, reconciliation and restore confidence among locals,” Mogae reportedly told Kiir at the meeting.
Mayik Deng Ayii, the Minister in the office of President Kiir, separately told reporters that the two leaders “had a mutual discussion towards inclusive political dialogue that is aimed at consolidating peace in the country.”
JMEC was constituted according to August 2015 peace agreement that ended the war between the government and South Sudan’s armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) led by the country’s former First Vice President Riek Machar.
Machar fled the country when fighting broke out in July last year was succeeded by Taban Deng Gai, the armed opposition’s ex-chief negotiator.
President Kiir proposed a national dialogue in December last year and emphasized on Tuesday the importance of including other political actors in it.
“I call upon our partners and those in opposition to cast any doubts aside as we genuinely seek to restore peace,” Kiir told lawmakers on Tuesday.
The South Sudanese leader, however, said that the national dialogue initiative 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 stressed.