ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Aug 17 – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir arrived in Ethiopia Sunday for peace talks aimed at brokering an end to civil war, reversing an earlier decision as international threats of possible sanctions mount.
However Kiir, who said he had been “compelled” to join the talks alongside rebel leaders and regional presidents, warned it would not be possible to sign a lasting or full peace deal until all opposition factions could join the agreement.
“A peace that cannot be sustained cannot be signed,” Kiir said, before leaving Juba.
“You should sign something that you will enjoy. If it is signed today and then tomorrow we go back to war, then what have we achieved?”
South Sudan’s government and rebels are under intense diplomatic pressure to sign a deal by a Monday deadline to end a 20-month civil war in which tens of thousands of people have been killed.
Kiir’s arch-rival, rebel chief Riek Machar, has not appeared publicly in Addis Ababa but multiple sources said he had been in the Ethiopian capital for several days.
Kiir previously said he would send his deputy after complaining it was not possible to strike an effective deal because rebel forces have split.
But on Sunday he decided to go himself after consultations with regional leaders, who have already arrived in Addis Ababa for the summit meeting on Monday.
“Even if I am not happy, I must show my face because if I don’t go, negative forces will take me as the one against the peace that was going to be signed,” Kiir added.