White House warns Kiir over peace deal

The White House on Wednesday welcomed the decision by South Sudan President Salva Kiir to belatedly sign a peace accord, but warned his endorsement should not come with caveats.

“President Kiir made the right decision to sign the peace agreement today,” said spokesperson Josh Earnest.

“But we should be just as clear that the United States and the international community does not recognize any reservations or addendums to that document.”

The White House called Kiir’s government to abide by the agreement and begin rebuilding the country.

Facing international sanctions, Kiir earlier signed the deal, designed to end 20 months of brutal internecine fighting, but repeatedly expressed reservations.

“The current peace we are signing today has so many things we have to reject,” Kiir said at the ceremony, witnessed by regional leaders, diplomats and journalists.

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“Such reservations if ignored would not be in the interests of just and lasting peace.”

He said the text was “not a Bible, it not the Qur’an, why should it not be revisited?”

South Sudan, midwifed into existence with US cash and support in 2011, has faltered badly in its infancy and President Barack Obama’s administration has been accused of abandoning the fragile nation.

After a long debate within the White House, Obama waded into the quest for peace during a visit to East Africa in July.

Holding talks with regional leaders he demanded an end to a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and forced more than two million from their homes.


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