(JUBA) –South Sudan President Salva Kiir Monday appealed for the support of the international community to the national unity government, saying much has been done without its support despite previous pledges to provide assistance at the signing of the peace agreement.
“As a country, we are grateful for all the help our people have received and the treatment they were given by countries to which they sought refuge. We appeal to the international community to keep it up. We appreciate and thank these countries and continue to ask support for sustainable peace because the South Sudanese do not wish to be a burden, but to make our success certain and our progress irreversible, we will need your steadfast support,” said President Kiir on Monday.
In a meeting with the visiting Canadian Minister of International Development, the head of state further spoke about the need for help to build the country’s economy and transforming the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) into a professional army.
“We need the support of the international community not only in helping us achieve peace and stability but also with experts to help train and advise our security forces,” President Kiir told Maria Claude Bibeau.
The president continued to add that his government has been asking the international community to help the government in the implementation of the peace agreement instead of continuing to advocate for views calling for sanctions and an arms embargo.
“We have been talking to our international friends and partners to remain committed to training, advising and assisting our institutions, especially our forces. There are still those who continue to advocate for war in the country, and we continue to go after those who are unwilling to end the conflict. This is no what the country needs,” explained President Kiir to the visiting Canadian Minister.
According to the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Martin Elia Lomuro, President Kiir stressed that the government, which was formed amid difficult conditions experienced by the country, is tasked with bringing to order the internal situation and confronting the aggression.
The South Sudanese leader and the Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie also discussed the existing cooperation between the two nations and how to move forward in strengthening their bilateral relations. The meeting was held at the State House.
Minister Bibeau meeting with President Kiir comes at the end of a four-day visit to South Sudan, ’’where she witnessed first-hand the extreme suffering of the South Sudanese people, the result of the severe food crisis affecting nearly half the country’s population and the ongoing conflict,’’ said a statement released by the Canadian government Monday.
She discussed with President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Riek Gai Kok, Minister of Health, the conflict and its devastating impact on civilians, most notably women and children. The visiting Minister also visited Jonglei region, where she observed the World Food Programme’s humanitarian relief operations and spoke with local civilians, especially women, affected by the crisis.
Bibeau announced $86 million in funding for four development projects that will respond to the basic needs of vulnerable South Sudanese people. Also, it includes $20 million to the WFP for food security.
After the meeting on Monday, Minister Lomuro, told the press, that the visit was aimed at seeing the progress of the projects that were sponsored by the Canadian government.
He added that the meeting was also to discuss the issues related to education, women and gender balance as well as the national dialogue process.
Meanwhile, Maria Claude Bibeau explained that the visit was to confirm the commitment from the Canadian government to the South Sudan government. She expressed the readiness of Canada to support humanitarian assistance, alongside the developmental projects.
Riak Gai Kok, Minister of Health outlined some of the areas in which the Canadian government would provide support in the health sector. Minister Kok said they had excellent bilateral discussions with the visiting Minister and applauded the support by the Canadian government in the health sector.