In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, South Sudan president Salva Kiir has said that a power-sharing agreement with his former vice-president Riek Machar was unlikely, despite peace talks aimed at resolving the 10-month civil war that has killed thousands of people in the central African nation.
“So the idea that you both share power: is it feasible?” Kiir was asked.
“No, there is no sharing of power here,” said Kiir. “If we reach an agreement to stop fighting, we will go to election.”
“But for Riek Machar to accept a peace deal, there needs to be a compromise?”
“Well, for Riek Machar to accept the peace deal is for me to resign and go,” said Kiir. “This is his condition and, because he failed to achieve it by military means, he will want to negotiate it through this peace deal. This is negotiated in and I am negotiated out. This is the only compromise that he will accept.”
Asked about how close he and Machar are to a peace deal, Kiir said he couldn’t say. “If you are really interested to know when the peace will come to South Sudan, you better ask Riek Machar. Me, I am for peace. I have never attacked him in his position; he is the one attacking.”
President Kiir also said compromises needed to be two-way. “I don’t compromise alone; I compromise when I talk to somebody and he understands me.”
Later in the interview, Kiir was more optimistic, suggesting there may be a peace deal by the end of the year.
Last week, in a joint statement, the two leaders accepted mutual responsibility for the civil war and called for the reunification of the now divided Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which brought the country independence three years ago after a long war with Khartoum.