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JUBA - 23 Dec 2013

Salva Kiir: ‘We lost control over Unity State and Jonglei’

President Salva Kiir informed the parliament of South Sudan today that his government lost control over two of the country’s ten states, admitting that Unity State and Jonglei are in the hands of his former vice president Riek Machar.

Several SPLA divisions headed by commanders from Machar's tribe, the Nuer, have defected. Salva Kiir pledged to the assembly to recapture the two states.

Machar “has now control over Jonglei State and he has control over Unity State. These are the two states that he has control over. How many states do we have? We have 10 states. And if you control two states you will still be the minority,” Salva Kiir told the gathered legislators this morning. His speech was received with strong applause from the parliamentarians.

Salva Kiir also promised that anybody who has been arrested will “not be tortured and will not be abused in any way. They will be kept and will be taken to trial in the law court as soon as possible.” He repeated his “readiness for a dialogue with this breakaway group provided that there are no (pre-)conditions.”

Verbatim excerpts of speech by Salva Kiir 

Saturday, when the UN and the US helicopters went to Bor to evacuate their nationals, they were shot at by the forces loyal to Riek Machar. And some American Marines and citizens were wounded. Three of them were wounded very seriously in one of the helicopters. So they were brought here and they were rushed to Nairobi and they are now getting their treatment there.

It was recently when we held the investment conference in Juba, you all know how heavily it was attended by international investors. People went away with the hope that they will come to help South Sudan in development. But now, because Riek does not care for the citizens of South Sudan, he cares for his own position, he did what he has done.

And so, we have to be ready to face whatever consequences that are going to come up. If somebody does not respect the UN agencies where are the norms that he would respect if he becomes the head of state. There is no way that you know, this thing can go on.

So, I find it very important your excellencies, to inform you really about what we have decided, you know the administration of this country, in response to the current events in our nation.

Of course, after the failed coup attempt, there was order of curfew in Juba Town to be observed daily from 6PM to 6AM until when the security conditions are brought to normal. And that the law enforcement agencies were instructed to implement this order and with the intention to protect the lives and properties of our people. As a result, I believe the situation in Juba is now coming back to normal, slowly but sure that it is going to be normal.

There are agitators whether nationals or foreigners who are spreading very <inaudible> rumours to the citizens. That Dr. Riek Machar would come back to fight in Juba within this Christmas. He has now has Jonglei State and he has control over Unity State. These are the two states that he has control. How many states do we have? We have 10 states. And if you control two states you will still be the minority. And so, this is what people are saying. And they are advising people to flee and run away from Juba. I will tell the people don’t listen to these rumours…

Secondly, I did order for the arrest of the coup leaders. And anybody who would be found in violation of laws of this country, that is those who would want to abuse the citizens taking their property, beating them or want to kill them. All these people must be arrested.

So anybody found to be in the process of committing any crime must be arrested. And many of the people who have been doing all these things have been arrested. I would like to assure you that anybody who have been arrested will not be tortured, will not be abused in any way. They will be kept and will be taken to trial in the law court as soon as possible.

Third, I made a pledge recently during my press conference in which I expressed my readiness for a dialogue with this break-away group provided that there are no conditions. Through dialogue I think we can resolve this misunderstanding very quickly and stop the bloodshed.

Four, which I told you before, I accepted the request of the IGAD countries who offer for the mediation. I told them the same that we are ready for dialogue but dr. Riek Machar must come to the table without any preconditions. The Foreign Affairs ministers of IGAD countries were here and they left with the intention that they would want to play a role.

The president of the republic of Kenya send his special envoy that is General Sumbeiywo, well know to all of you for the role he played in the negotiations between us and the government of Sudan then. He came here with a letter from his president, president Uhuru who wants to take the lead in bringing back peace to South Sudan.

I told him that we don’t have any problem with Kenya taking the lead, but we would want you to mobilise the other IGAD countries and stand behind you in the state of going for parallel negotiations or mediations. I have talked to president Uhuru on the telephone and I have talked also to president Museveni on the telephone and they are ready for this mission.

Number five, I also issued a presidential order for the formation of the Crisis Management committee which is headed by the vice president, comrade James Wani Igga. This high committee is to plan, manage and coordinate their activities to serve the victims, the affected citizens, as a result of their attempted coup. Honourable members, I am absolutely delighted once again to be in your August house, for the purpose of support and collective responsibility in order to avert the challenges facing our country during these difficult times. We need to stand united as one nation against the forces which are determined to see us collapse.

Nevertheless we are all aware of the long work and heavy prices which we have paid together to achieve our independence. It is our collective responsibility today, to protect and defend this beloved nation from any internal or external treat at all times. Finally, I appealed to this August house for their support and any necessary facilitation who allow to government to fully address the challenges in terms of security and humanitarian assistance to the victims of the failed coup.

I also ask our citizens to remain calm and avoid hostilities among themselves. Those killing innocent civilians and pretend they are supporting the government and the president must stop, because they are doing great damage to the image of the government and my personality. Those who are killing the innocent civilians and foreigners on the ground that they are supporting Riek Machar must also stop. If you support me, do something good that will bring people together behind me. Thank you.

I also take this opportunity to challenge Dr. Riek Machar. If he is really a leader to come out openly to denounce the atrocities which are now taking place against our own citizens.

And UN peacekeepers and all the facilities aligned forces like the US and other forces who are in South Sudan must feel safe. And dr. Riek Machar must say this openly to his forces and the international community.

In conclusion I would like to reaffirm my personal position once again that I will never take South Sudan back to war. I will continue to embrace the rich diversities of the people of South Sudan to be the source of pride and strength in promoting the unity and peace among our people. I also promise to continue to respect and observe the principles and values of the participatory democracy and policies of inclusiveness for the building of our new nation.

Long live the Republic of South Sudan. Long live the unity of our people. Long live the SPLM and SPLA. Thank you very much.