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Kiir rules out power sharing to end 'senseless war'

31 December 2013, 10:59

Juba - South Sudan President Salva Kiir has ruled out power sharing with rebels to end a "senseless war", he told the BBC, but added military solutions would also not end the conflict.

The world's youngest nation plunged into chaos on December 15 when Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of mounting a coup, sparking deadly violence believed to have left thousands dead.

"What power sharing? It is not an option. This man has rebelled. If you want power, you don't rebel so that you are awarded with the power," Kiir said in an interview broadcast on the BBC Tuesday.

"You go through the process. When I came here I did not come through a military coup, I came because I was elected by the people."

Kiir, a former rebel commander, was elected president of South Sudan in 2011, just before the country became formally independent from Sudan.

"Elections are coming in 2015. Why did he not wait so that he goes through that same process?" Kiir added. "If he wins the elections, he then comes to this office."

"There can be no military solutions to any conflict, you try both military solutions and political solutions. Since day one I have said that I will resolve it by peaceful means," he added.

Regional leaders at the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have demanded Machar hold face-to-face talks with Kiir by Tuesday, but there seems to be little chance of the deadline being met.

Kiir said he feared for the future of the people of the fledgling nation, still reeling after decades of civil war.

"When there is fighting, you lose people. I don't want the people of South Sudan to die in a very reckless way that has been initiated now by my colleagues," Kiir added.

"We have been fighting for a very long time, so what concerns me today, is how to bring this senseless war to an end, so that the people prosper and they go back to their homes."

A key rebel demand has been the release of several top level political leaders arrested hours after the fighting began, but Kiir said they must follow the court process.

"Without any condition, these people will be released after legal procedures -- you don't just lock people up and tomorrow you say 'get out, you are released'," Kiir said. "You must take them through the legal procedures."



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