Transcript: Kiir and Machar speeches at South Sudan ceasefire signing

South Sudan's SPLM-IO chairman, Dr.Riek Machar smiles as he meets his friends at Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa (Photo: Nyamilepedia via Sudan_tweet)
South Sudan’s SPLM-IO chairman, Dr.Riek Machar smiles as he meets his friends at Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa (Photo: Nyamilepedia via Sudan_tweet)

May 12, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — The chairman of SPLM [in opposition] Dr. Riek Machar and president Salva Kiir reiterate their commitment to the agreemeent, signed on May 09, 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Machar reaffirms that there was no coup, and since his colleagues, who were implicated, have been released, he had the courage to negotiate faithfully to restore peace through dialogue. Machar believes that the agreement he signed is an important “road map”.

Machar also reiterates his acceptance of the breach of their [Kiir and Machar] 2010 “gentlemen agreement.” Machar believes that Salva Kiir dishonoured their gentlemen agreement as running mates during the 2010 elections when he campaigned for the president to get elected.

Although Kiir did not want to address the alleged coup, he believes that someone fired a gun saying “A gun does not fire itself alone.”

Kiir reiterated his commitment to lead everyone saying “The country called South Sudan, I am the president, to everybody. Those who are against me, and those who support me. I am the president of South Sudan, and I must always remain in that position as the president. The leader of that country.”
Kiir believes that he is responsible for the country, and for such he feels obligated to find solutions to the crisis. He reiterated his commitment to the peace process and obeying the ceasefire agreement.

These speeches were delivered in English. The texts that follow are verbatim transcripts, without abridgement.

Address by Riek Machar Teny, 9 May 2014:

Your Excellency, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. I was invited a week ago by His Excellency in coming to Addis and have the first face-[to-face] meeting with President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

I did not hesitate to respond to this important invitation although I did not know what I would expect from the meeting, because first it appeared strange since I was not informed by my colleagues who are negotiating in Addis Ababa that there was an issue that needed my presence. I was concerned that this meeting may not yet [bear] fruits since there was no clear agenda.

But then I took the challenge, came, discussed with His Excellency [Hailemariam] over the issues of the conflict.  I am happy that we have this evening signed this agreement. For five months and 35 days [sic] South Sudan has been bleeding. At times as I ask myself, what is this senseless war? I see that all of you heard on the 16th of December 2013 that a coup attempt was foiled.

Having signed this agreement, I want to clear up this point. My colleagues and I in the SPLM have not plotted any coup attempt. The first day I had an opportunity to talk to the outside world. I made this point, and I consistently said that there has been no coup attempt.

And I am happy today that I met some of my comrades who were detained on the same charges, that they had plotted with me leading them, the coup attempt.

I hope President Salva Kiir has also come to the same conclusion, that there has been no coup attempt in South Sudan.  This is important for me to state this because it will create an atmosphere for these talks to succeed.

If we have signed this agreement when Pagan Amum, Oyai Deng, Dr. Majak D’Agoot, Ambassador Gatkuoth – if they were still under detention or still being tried, this idea would linger in the minds of people. When I met thes gentlemen this morning, it actually gave me encouragement to discuss seriously so that South Sudan can return to peace.

Your Excellency, I want to underline to you our commitment for seeking a political settlement to this problem. As you know, it started from the SPLM, the differences in the SPLM and it went into government.  I am satisfied that the agenda that you have brought with the envoys. If the two parties seriously engage in dialogue, discussion, we will resolve the problem.

This agreement is an important roadmap to guide them so that an agreement can be established or reached. The conflict was not over power when President Salva Kiir removed me as his vice president. I made consistently public statements accepting his decision.

I did not challenge it. In the 2010 elections we were running mates. I did not accuse him of going back on the arrangement we made in the party. I accepted his decision. But as then vice chairman of the SPLM I continued to pursue the discussion over the issues which today we are trying to get solutions.

However, the incident of the 15th brought the chaos. I want to dissociate myself with the incident.  I did not cause it. I had no reason to return South Sudan to war. I was one of those who fought since 1983. And I know the difficulty of people who are fighting a war. By me signing today this agreement, I am sending the signal that this conflict must be ended peacefully.

I hope the other side will also be serious on this matter. Your Excellency [Hailemariam], I want to thank you for the efforts you have made.  I also want to thank the IGAD envoys for tirelessly working day and night pursuing this matter with all their vigor.

I also want to thank the Troika for supporting the process, and also the EU for supporting the process. And also […] members of our churches, who cried out in the first days when violence erupted in South Sudan.

I want to reiterate my commitment on behalf of the movement I lead that we shall continue supporting it – and by this, my team will double their efforts so that we reach as soon as possible a peace agreement and then South Sudan can become peaceful again.  And the dream that we have told our people – that we can catch up the rest of Africa if we have peace – I am hoping this dream will be realized.

Thank you very much.

Address by Salva Kiir Mayardit, 9 May 2014:

Hailemariam Dessalegn, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Dr. Riek Machar, all the protocols observed.

Your Excellency, I accepted your invitation to negotiations on the first day you visited me in Juba, and on the first day you sent your representatives to Juba. It has been repeated that we should (stop) all fighting and then come to talks – by many quarters. I have been called on the telephones. Many special envoys from Europe, from America, from all Africa came to talk to me on the necessity to stop fighting and bring peace back to South Sudan.

It is today that we have met. I don’t want to bore you with the reading of whatever I have in front of me, and I want to reiterate that we are not here to bear witness of what we have done in our country, whether you are on the wrong side or you are on the right side. That is not what I came here for.

If I go into defend myself, to repeat what my brother Riek was saying, I can talk more, elaborating all what he has said. But that is not what we came for. In my speeches before our independence, when I was still the first vice president in the Republic of Sudan, I have said many times assuring people of South Sudan that I will not take you back to war again.

This is my saying, and everybody knows, and I have been in a position of making peace with anybody. Now that we have signed this document under the auspices of IGAD, I want to assure you that I am my part – the party that I am leading and the army that I am leading – will implement this agreement without any fail.  And if the MVM [Monitoring and Verification Mechanism] were to be on the ground tomorrow we will hear from them who is the violator. That has not yet come.

I want to assure you once more that people of South Sudan do not need war. I thought what we were for was the development of our country, and was the reconciliation of the people who have been torn apart during the long civil war. And to make good relations with our neighbors starting from the neighboring countries and then we go to the whole world.

We have not failed in that, organizing ourselves in our country is our priority. And that we will have to do it. I don’t want to talk about whether there was a coup or no coup. A gun does not fire itself alone. Somebody must pull the trigger for the bullet to come out. History will say this.

And the fact is that in any military coup the coup leaders and those who were to be overthrown – they don’t all survive. Some die immediately, especially the military commanders who were responsible for execution. The fact that some of our comrades were arrested and detained and did not die, does not mean that there was no coup. I personally refused that nobody should die. Anybody dying on the front line – there is no question about that – but after arrest, nobody should die. During the arrest or after the arrest. God knows.

The best thing, which we have done today is that we have ended this black page of our history. And if we continue to work according to what we have signed, yes, this bleeding will stop. Nobody will again open fire on another person.

I personally know that I was elected by all these people who are dying today. These are the people who voted for me. I have no reason to turn against them, to kill them. I have no reason to leave them to continue to bleed when I am responsible for the whole nation. The country called South Sudan, I am the president, to everybody. Those who are against me, and those who support me. I am the president of South Sudan, and I must always remain in that position as the president. The leader of that country.

I accept whatever bad or good that can happen to that country, and I must also get a solution to it. Had we stopped this thing, very early from the beginning, more lives could have not been lost. Now that we have come back to our senses that dialogue is the only answer to whatever conflict we have, I think we will continue to move to the right direction.

I want to assure you, your Excellency Prime Minister, and IGAD countries, the African Union team, the Troika, and the whole world that had been concerned about what is happening in South Sudan, I must assure you that we acknowledge your support that you exerted and we would not let you down, we will work with you to implement what we have now committed ourselves to.

I am happy to conclude this agreement on the 9th of May in Addis Ababa, which coincidentally according to the information I got is the birthday of our great friend and leader that we lost prematurely, Comrade Former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.  This is his birthday. And I think if there is a good presence – a gift that we have given to him to honor him in this grave where he’s resting it is this agreement that we have signed today.

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