President Yoweri Museveni has urged South Sudan to avoid war and instead focus on prosperity and development.
Mr Museveni, who was speaking shortly after South Sudan President Salva Kiir signed a peace deal with the rebels on Wednesday, to end 20 months of armed conflicts in South Sudan, said the war of Independence was justified and that is why it elicited support.
“It is a wrong war in a wrong place at a wrong time and the sooner you finish it the better. I have fought many wars, but we as revolutionaries make a distinction between a just war and unjust war. The war you fought for independence was a just war that is why we stood with you,” he said.
President Salva Kiir’s signing came a week after rebel leader Riek Machar signed the accord in the Ethiopian capital last week.
Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalagn who all helped mediate the negotiations, attended the signing ceremony held at the Freedom Hall in the South Sudan Capital Juba.
Sudanese first Vice President Bakir Hassan Saleh represented President Omar Al-Bashir at the ceremony.
The President described the South Sudan Independence war as a war for their identity.
“Someone didn’t pay attention to your identity. You were also fighting for your prosperity as a people, region and country. If someone threatens my security, prosperity and identity, I defend him. Now I have not had time for any of you to tell me what this war is all about. Juba has been moving very fast but the war is interfering with development,” he said.
President Museveni said the details of how South Sudan will get out of the current situation have been discussed to enable the country to resume its search for prosperity and also asked the leadership to give back power to the people so they can vote.
He also asked South Sudan to get rid of foreigners like the United Nations out of the affairs of the country saying many have become experts in the affairs of the country.
“Get rid of foreigners, bring peace to your country and let the people of South Sudan regain their power through elections,” he said.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta described the signing as a historical moment in the history of South Sudan and pledged Kenya’s continued efforts towards peace in the region.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalagn said his country will work with the government of South Sudan to ensure that lasting peace and tranquility prevail in the country.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir appealed to regional leaders to stand with his government during the implementation of the peace agreement.
South Sudan has been at war since December 2013, when a split within the security forces escalated into a violent rebellion led by former Vice President Riek Machar.