Well wishes for S. Sudan peace celebration

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Deputy President David Mabuza has sent his well wishes to the government and people of South Sudan as they observe their National Peace Celebration, which marks the end of the more than four years of conflict.

Mabuza, who is also the Special Envoy to South Sudan, said the National Peace Celebration is an important milestone towards rebuilding trust and committing to finding lasting peace and stability in South Sudan.

Mabuza said the celebration is a significant step towards the permanent “silencing of the guns and in advancing the common development objective and peace in South Sudan and the region”.

“We are very pleased that the people of South Sudan are today able to celebrate this milestone towards a completely conflict-free country and the region.

“We congratulate the people of South Sudan and the region on this important milestone. We would like to once again pledge South Africa’s continued support to the peace process and development in South Sudan,” said Deputy President Mabuza.

At least four African leaders are expected at the celebrations in Juba, including President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, Somalia's Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed and Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde.

Other dignitaries will include Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Nasser Bourita, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as delegations from Nigeria and South Africa.

Meanwhile, rebel leader Riek Machar, who signed a final peace agreement with President Salva Kiir in September in Ethiopia, will also be attending the peace celebrations after more than two years in exile.

Machar fled Juba in the wake of renewed violence in July 2016 and he is expected to return to his former post of First Vice President.

South Sudan descended into civil war in July 2013 and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

A peace agreement signed in 2015 to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when rival factions resumed fighting in the capital Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally. – SAnews.gov.za-Xinhua