S. Sudanese Urged to Unite

S. Sudanese Urged to UniteS. Sudanese Urged to Unite

South Sudan's president urged his people on Tuesday to "join hands" in implementing a peace deal to end more than 20 months of conflict, after repeated outbreaks of fighting since rebels and the government signed the pact last month.

When he signed the peace deal on Aug. 26, just over a week after rebel leader Riek Machar did so, President Salva Kiir had voiced "serious reservations" and accused African and other mediators of using intimidation to push him to agree the terms, Reuters reported.

Since then, each side has accused the other of violating the permanent ceasefire and stoking fighting.

Kiir repeated his concerns about the deal in his statement to journalists in Juba on Tuesday, saying some elements needed to be renegotiated. For example, he criticized the deal for declaring the capital and some other places demilitarized zones.

But he told South Sudan, which declared independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of war, that it was time to unite.

"I call upon all of you to join hands with me," he said, urging South Sudanese to work together "during the transitional period until the general elections in 2018, until we bring peace to our country."

"I am committed to peace and the implementation of the agreement," he said.