Kiir Offers Machar VP Position

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) exchange signed peace agreement documents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 9, 2014.
South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (L) exchange signed peace agreement documents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 9, 2014.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir has offered to return rebel leader Riek Machar to the Vice Presidency.

Kiir said on Sunday evening that Riek Machar could become the country’s second vice-president, if he agrees to abandon rebellion and re-join his government.

Speaking at Juba Airport on arrival from the United States where he attended the U.S – Africa Business Forum, Kiir disclosed that the international community had demanded for the creation of a prime minister’s position, something he opposed.

The offer is in response to demands by the international community for peace to be restored in Africa’s newest nation after fighting broke out in December last year. President Kiir explained that he can expand his government to bring in people he wants to work with.

Rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar, who was Kiir’s deputy before they fell out in July 2013, has not said a word about the latest offer. But Kiir said if Dr Machar wants to be in the government, he can create for him a position of second vice president after vice president James Wani Igga.

The South Sudanese leader, however, stressed that Machar was only capable of succeeding him as president upon winning an election.

Machar was sacked in July 2013 after openly declaring his intention to challenge Kiir for the ruling Sudan people’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) chairmanship. Several disagreements within the party later culminated into violence, escalating into full-scale war.

In December 2013, President Kiir accused Dr Machar of attempting a coup on his government. Soldiers loyal to Machar revolted, effectively plunging the country back into conflict. On May 9th, 2014 the two once great friends signed a peace deal in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, aimed at resolving the conflict in South Sudan.

The opposition announced on Saturday that they had resumed talks with the government delegation as the 60-day ultimatum agreed on by both warring parties elapsed without any tangible results.

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