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JUBA - 15 Dec 2016

President Kiir calls for 'national dialogue' to end conflict

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has called for a "national dialogue" to discuss issues related to the structure of the country, renegotiate social contract, and revitalize aspirations for development.

In a speech to parliament on Wednesday, Kiir said that broader objectives of the proposed national dialogue are to end violent conflicts in South Sudan, reconstitute national consensus, and save the country from disintegration and usher in a new era of peace, stability and prosperity.

He pointed out that a panel of eminent personalities and people of consensus would lead the national dialogue which he said would involve all the people of South Sudan.

"As long as I am your president, I will not allow the suffering of our people to continue and I will not also allow this country to fall apart," Kiir said.

He noted that his government will guarantee safety and freedom of all the actors who are going to participate in the national dialogue including opposition groups, saying the stakeholders should accept the fact that the dialogue is placed within the framework of the signed peace agreement.

According to the South Sudanese leader, the national dialogue will deal with grassroots consultations before convening regional peace conferences and the final national dialogue conference in Juba.

In his speech, President Kiir asked forgiveness for any mistakes he might have committed, while calling on citizens to forgive one another and consider themselves as equal citizens.

Kiir issued a directive to government forces to immediately cease hostilities, protect their citizens and prepare the ground for a more peaceful, secure and joyous Christmas and New Year.