December 21, 2013
Re: The way forward to peaceful settlement in the current situation in South Sudan
December 21, 2013 (SSNA) — We, the concerned citizens of the Republic of South Sudan in the United States, have been moved by the discouraging and unfolding development in Juba, South Sudan. The current war in South Sudan is not a military coup per se but a problem triggered by the disarmament of Nuer ethnic group within the Presidential Republican Guards. As concerned citizens in the Diaspora, we have presented the following points as the way forward to a peaceful settlement to the conflict.
1. In order to give cordial space for peaceful negotiation, the two sides in the conflict must cease hostility immediately and stop beating drums of war.
2. All the political detainees must be released and be handed over to a neutral organization such African Union for their safety. Meanwhile these political detainees are under the government’s detention in unknown locations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) should be allowed to assess their safety and health; this will then be a testimony to the public that the detainees are well kept and protected.
3. We urge the international community such as UN, EU, AU, IGAD, the Arab League and Human Rights agencies to act decisively and empower the neutral governments to mediate the warring parties and find a long-term solution to the senseless conflict.
4. Although the president of the Republic of Uganda president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is the current chair of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), he is illegitimate negotiator because he has already opted to take side. Museveni’s biasness to the conflict discredits him to be a key player in the peace negotiation between president Salva Kiir and his rival former VP Dr Riek Machar.
5. Organized crimes have been committed against Nuer ethnic group in Juba. We, the concerned citizens, have disputed the government’s estimation that only 500 people were killed. It is a baseless and misleading assumption that is contrary to the facts on the ground. The exact figure is twice the provided number of unarmed civilians killed in Juba as the result of selective killing by presidential security unit. We would like to inform the World that more civilians have been killed and the killing is still taking place as we are writing this statement.
6. We, the concerned citizens, are calling upon the United Nations to evacuate civilians trapped in the UN compound in Juba, airlift them to their respective states or anywhere that is safer for them. Even though the United Nations Missions in South Sudan (UNMISS) is doing a good job by protecting the civil population in its compound, their lives still under imminent threat.
7. Once again, we call upon the peace loving nations and well wishers globally not to turn blind eye on current situation in South Sudan, and as a reminder, the international community failure to act in 1994 Rwanda genocide should not be allowed to repeat itself in the Republic of South Sudan.
Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister and Chairman of African Union (AU).