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In the aftermath of TB Joshua’s historic peace mission to South Sudan, the prominent opposition and SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny has called to “cement the new page of reconciliation” in a Christmas message.
During Joshua’s visit on 12th November 2019, he told President Salva Kiir Mayardit in a public address at the Presidential Palace, “Time has come for us to put our differences behind us.”
“This is the voice of God. Our leaders should overcome their division and agree to work together for the good of the country,” he insisted, adding that “peace has no price” and leading the nation in a heartfelt prayer for peace.
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Shortly after the clerics visit, renewed hope that sustainable peace is close on the horizon for the world’s youngest nation as Dr. Riek Machar visited the capital Juba for two weeks trying to settle with President Kiir on several pending issues of a peace agreement that the two men had signed last year to end the war.
In his Christmas message, Machar who is also the country’s First Vice President-designate urged the people of South Sudan “to cement the new page of reconciliation and forgiveness that started since September 12, 2018.”
“I am writing this Christmas and New Year message just on my return from Juba to Khartoum, I have spent two full weeks in Juba pushing for the implementation of the outstanding critical pre-transitional tasks such as security arrangements, number of states, ensuring that political space is opened so that peace dissemination is conducted in a secured environment.
“Our mechanisms working on implementation of the R-ARCSS have now spent over a year in Juba. Most will work even on the Christmas day.
“In the light of the progress made during the face to face meetings in Juba, we are also looking forward to the meeting that shall be convened by IGAD Special Envoy and facilitated by the President of the Republic of South Africa in the first week of January 2020 to determine the number of states and their boundaries.
“On behalf of the SPPLM/SPLA (IO), I wish the people of South Sudan a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year wherever they are in our country – in towns, rural areas or in the protection of civilians sites (POCS) or in the refugee camps. I wish them all happy festivities.
“It is my pleasure to call upon our people to seize this celebrative season to cement the new page of reconciliation and forgiveness that started since September 12, 2018. By embarking on this process, we can achieve healing and overcome the pains and the suffering caused by the tragic war as it is evident that the fabric of our society has destroyed and our communities are divided along ethnic fault lines.
“It is now the time for all of us to work together to unite our people and mend the fabric of our society again as we remember the Prince of Peace, the Savior Jesus Christ. Once again I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May the Lord consolidate the Peace in our country. God bless us all.”
Last week, President Salva Kiir and Machar agreed to form a transitional unity government by a February deadline even if they don’t resolve key political disputes by that time.
On Monday, the duo additionally agreed to renew face-to-face talks on all outstanding issues after the culmination of the Christmas and New Year holidays. “Dr. Machar is expected to travel to Khartoum on Tuesday, but he will come back to Juba after the holiday season,” Tut Gatluak, Presidential Advisor on Security Affairs, told reporters.
According to the presidential adviser, the two principles reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that lasting peace is achieved in South Sudan.