South Sudan president signs peace deal with ‘serious reservations’

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Aug. 26 signed a peace agreement to end the 20-month-long civil war, but said “serious reservations” could derail hopes of a lasting peace for the world’s newest country.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir
South Sudan President Salva Kiir

“The current peace we are signing today has so many things we have to reject,” Kiir said. “Such reservations, if ignored, would not be in the interests of just and lasting peace.”

Kiir accused rebel forces of carrying out attacks on Aug. 26, saying the deal signed earlier by rebel leader Riek Machar was not being respected.

“It is showing that what we are doing here is not accepted by the other side,” Kiir said, adding that the deal should be re-examined.

“It is not a Bible, it not the Koran, why should it not be revisited?” Kiir said. “Let us give ourselves time and see how we can correct these things.”

Related: Minutes of Sudan strategy session reveal hidden agenda to eliminate S. Sudan by backing Riek Machar, Jan. 19, 2015

The United Nations had threatened sanctions if a peace accord was not reached, and Kiir criticized what he called “intimidating messages” which he suggested were aimed at “regime change.”

The deal was welcomed by regional leaders, including Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who had sent in troops to back South Sudanese forces. Under the deal, the Ugandan troops now have 45 days to leave.

“This was not a just war, it was an unjust war. It was a wrong war, at a wrong place, at a wrong time – and the sooner you finish it the better,” Museveni said. “You need to get out of this trap, remove the guns, give back power to the people.”

Observers estimate tens of thousands of people died in the war which was marked by ethnic massacres and rape.

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