Pressemitteilung BoxID: 696046 (Deutsche Welle)
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Riek Machar: "I don't know when peace is coming"

(PresseBox) (Bonn, ) In an interview with Deutsche Welle South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar talks about the prospects of peace in South Sudan. A brutal civil war sparked by a power struggle between Machar and President Salva Kiir has killed thousands and driven 1.5 million people from their homes.

Mr Machar, how did the talks between you and the UN ambassadors go?

"I think the talks went well. I stated our position of the genesis of the war. We have been engaged in the peace process since January of this year. However, I don't think peace will come at the time which was specified by IGAD. I don't know when peace is going to come. If peace does not come it should not mean that the leaders be sanctioned. We are engaged in the peace process and it will take some time before an agreement is struck."

Don't you think that you as well as President Salva Kiir as leaders are the ones who really hold the key to peace in South Sudan?

"Peace talks are always difficult. We, on our side, are saying that the root causes of the conflict must be addressed. And in addressing the root causes of the conflict we should make reforms in the state. And for the reforms to be carried out it is necessary to agree on the system of governance that South Sudan should pursue. We are saying that federalism is a better form of governance."

Deutsche Welle has also heard from the government. And they are very strongly criticizing you of attacking their positions, of not taking the political process to find peace in South Sudan seriously.

"First of all we have not been attacking any positions. It's the government that has been on the offensive. Since we signed the cessation of hostilities on January 23. The government has not implemented its part of the agreement, the Ugandan troops are still in the country. The Sudanese rebels that are fighting alongside the government are still in the country. But the cessation of hostilities agreement stipulates that these forces must leave South Sudan."

The UN ambassadors have accused your side as well as the government side, of rearming yourselves. Can you confirm or deny these allegations?

"We get our arms from the government when we defeat them on the battlefield. But we know that the government is arming itself. They have bought arms and ammunition from the Chinese. And yesterday in my discussion with the ambassador of the UN Security Council I mentioned that China should refrain from selling arms to South Sudan."

Human Right Watch has already called for an arms embargo on South Sudan. Do you support this cause.

"That would be a good thing for example if the UN could start this arms embargo. They should have an arms embargo which makes it possible for the government not to buy arms from anywhere."

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