World Bulletin / News Desk
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has urged armed political groups fighting his government to join a national dialogue.
In a speech to parliament on Tuesday, President Kiir said he was convinced that the inclusive political dialogue would consolidate peace in the country.
“The national dialogue is a key priority for this government and an important national undertaking designed to unite the people of South Sudan and consolidate peace and improve security, I therefore call upon our partners and those in opposition to cast any doubts aside as we genuinely seek to restore peace,” Kiir said during his address.
President Salva Kiir announced the national dialogue for peace last December to put an end to over three years of civil war.
Kiir appears to try to retake control of a government suffering not only from resignations of senior politicians but also from defections of commanding generals in the army.
Four high-profile officials, including the army's deputy chief of staff, have resigned this month alone, accusing Kiir of ethnic bias and corruption.
Kiir stressed the national dialogue process was not a delaying tactic for his government to consolidate grips on power.
Improved relations with US
The South Sudanese leader also said his country was prepared for improved relations with the new U.S. government.
“It is no secret we had a strong feeling that the previous U.S. administration might have sought a regime change agenda in South Sudan and largely complicated the peace process with threats of sanctions," said Kiir.
The U.S. will dispatch a three-member delegation to Juba this week to assess ways to end the war in South Sudan.
The South Sudanese government had expressed its disappointment over the Barack Obama administration's stance in the conflict and had accused the latter of supporting the armed opposition group led by exiled former vice president Riek Machar.
War that erupted South Sudan in December 2013 has left tens of thousands of people dead and forced more than 2.4 million others to flee their homes.
A political truce signed August 2015 was stalled when renewed clashes between Kiir forces and those backing Machar broke out last July.
Conspicuous by its absence in Kiir's speech was a government plan to address the famine that has hit the country with at least some 100,000 people facing starvation including an additional million people classified as being on the brink of famine, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released on Monday by the government, and United Nations agencies.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Şubat 2017, 18:49