Kiir delivers message on New Year’s Eve, pledging to silence the guns in 2021

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit delivers a speech on New Year’s Eve.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit joins the youth during a peace concert organized by Achai Wiir |Photo: © PPU

Fellow citizens,

As we are approaching the year 2021, I would like to convey my new year wishes from Juba to all of you across the country.As I mentioned in my Christmas message, 2020 has been a difficult year.

We were affected by COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to take human lives and exacted economic toll both in our country and across the globe. Our situation has also been worsened by floods, which have destroyed livelihood of thousands of people in our country.

My heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones to COVID-19 as well as those who are living in hardships as a result of the flood. While overcome by sadness, we should all be encouraged by how you, ordinary people, have maintained social harmony during this crisis.

Fellow citizens,

We did not travel the rough road of the year 2020 alone. We received support from our regional and international partners, and I would like on your behalf, to sincerely thank them for standing with us at our difficult moment.

The Transitional Government of National Unity recognizes the value of partnership with international organizations and donors, and this is why we have unconditionally offered our cooperation for all these years. On the basis of this believe, I am appealing to all our partners to open a new page of mutual recognition in the year 2021.

For the last seven years of conflict, we have heard statements from our international partners that have wilfully ignored South Sudanese leaders, while pledging to work with our people.

We, as the leadership have only been asked us to fulfil our obligations in approving humanitarian access, but these obligations demanded from us seem to have no corresponding rights. The South Sudanese, leadership in this conception has obligations to approve things, but has no rights to be treated as a genuine partner.

Today, I would like to underscore that there are some aspects of our responsibility that require genuine cooperation, especially now the Transitional Government of National Unity is in place. To our partners, there is more to be achieved in our collaborative work by mutual recognition than in a language that undermines.

Fellow Citizens,

I am aware that the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement is moving slowly. This slow progress is not due to lack of political will from the parties, it comes from the fact that the agreement itself did cater for everything.

“This requires the parties to work out these areas through dialogue. While it has taken long, I am pleased to announce that the parties have reached a substantive agreement on responsibility sharing, except for the position of the governor of Upper Nile state.”

This agreement has paved the way for the parties to submit the proposed names of candidates for legislatures and states government officials. Although the announcement of state government officials and the reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, will come in phases, I can assure you that it has already started.

We announced deputy governors yesterday and more announcements are imminent. For this milestone, I would like to congratulate the parties and urge them to use this momentum to quicken the pace of the implementation of the remaining chapters of the agreement. This is because the revitalized peace agreement is the framework for returning our country to permanent stability, and we have no choice other than to implement it faithfully.

Fellow citizens,

While work continues on the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement, we are also engaging Holdout Groups through the Rome Process to make the quest for peace in our country inclusive.

These talks are now progressing under the guidance of Sant’Egidio Community, and I would like to appeal to my brothers and sisters in South Sudan Opposition Alliance to see this as an opportunity to silence the guns in our country.

The Transitional Government of National Unity is committed to Sant’Egidio mediation, and we are hopeful that tangible progress will be achieved in the next round. Fellow citizens, Let us all work to silence the guns in 2021.

This will allow us to focus on directing our resources to national development priorities such as service provision to our people. May this year be the year of peace and hope for us here in South Sudan and for humanity. Stay united and I wish you happy and prosperous new year, and may God bless our country, South Sudan.

Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan