Remarks by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to media at Juba Airport, South Sudan
This is a big day for peace in South Sudan.
We have brought five of its outstanding sons back home.
We have brought home:
Mr Deng Alor,
Dr John Luk Jok,
Mr Kosti Manibe,
General Madut Biar,
Dr Cirino Heiteng.
They have accompanied us on their way back home. This is a new phase in the peacemaking process. They are here on preparatory mission; a mission that will end with the return home of SPLM leaders made up of Former Detainees.
Before coming here I spoke to Dr Riek Machar (former VP of South Sudan) and told him we were travelling with five colleagues and the Secretary-General of CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi), as well as the Foreign Ministers of Kenya and Ethiopia.
I told Dr Machar that we were taking them back home as part of the first phase of moving towards the reunification of the SPLM. I said to him that what was missing was the SPLM in opposition.
I arranged a meeting between (Dr Machar), and the Presidents of South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, PM Ethiopia to talk about the agreement we all signed in October. Since the outbreak of this war, many attempts have been made to silence the guns of death and destruction.
IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) is one such process, and has moved along in a very admirable way. In the course of time, leaders of the Continent, in various forms, built what is needed to find peace in the SPLM itself.
President Kiir asked Kenya to help reunite (SPLM).
The (October) Arusha Reunification Agreement set out a clear road map that is meant to reunite the SPLM.
Today we have embarked on one of these steps.
(The Former Detainees) will be back home permanently at a later stage. We will be walking every inch of the way with them as we try to consolidate peace in South Sudan.
(In Juba) we will be holding talks with President Kiir and SPLM leaders.
Hopefully, we will have a meeting with the leadership of the SPLM; (either) the National Liberation Council or the Politburo. These are important steps and they introduce a new phase in the peace process in South Sudan.
Much as the SPLM in Opposition is not here, we should not dismiss this process. What we seek to do is to get to the real source of the problem – disagreement within the party – (and) to get the party to start functioning as the party that leads the government here in South Sudan. Today is a momentous day here for peace-making in South Sudan.
This is the first time these leaders have come back under the auspices of the peace-making process; under the auspices of guarantors.
It is important that the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia is here. What we are seeking to do in a demonstrable way is to show that the two processes – reunification of the partyi and the peace process as it impacts on governance and the structure of government – are complementary.
We hope we will get to a point where we will silence the guns of war and bring about peace in South Sudan.
We compliment and applaud the courage and determination of these five leaders we have brought home. They have been sufficiently courageous to take this step to come back to Juba to embark on the process of reunification.
I also want to applaud Presidents Kikwete and Zuma for the leadership they have shown in getting this process of the reunification of the SPLM under way.
(I thank) Secretary-General (Abdulrahman) Kinana (of CCM) who has been patient and longsuffering to enable us to get to this point.
I thank (President) Salva Kiir and the leadership of the SPLM for having taken this very courageous step to allow colleagues to come back to Juba, and make an accommodation to reach a compromise to ensure that peace does indeed move forward.
Peacemaking in the face of war is a difficult process. I applaud all of those who have been involved in this. Dr Riek Machar must be part of this process. Building peace in South Sudan is the only way out. War is no alternative.
We are calling on the people of South Sudan. We know you are tired of the war. We know the war has brought a lot of suffering to all the people of South Sudan. We ask you to support this process of rebuilding and unifying the SPLM.
We thank the international community for being here; for being in support of this effort.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS