By Parach Mach
JUBA, South Sudan (AA) - Turkey’s ambassador to South Sudan on Tuesday pledged Ankara’s support for the national dialogue initiative launched by President Salva Kiir a year ago to end four years of civil war.
Hasan Sevilir Asan made the pledge during a meeting with the national steering committee in the capital Juba.
In December 2016 Kiir launched a national dialogue initiative urging opposition groups and South Sudan’s people to join a dialogue to discuss all pressing issues, saying it would help unite the country and reconcile the people, who have been deeply divided by conflict since 2013.
“With regard to the IGAD revitalization process and national dialogue initiative, we will offer our support,” Asan said, referring to the East African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) trade bloc.
“We will do our best to support the dialogue activities, we will implement two or three projects including technical help such as office space,” he added.
Asan said Ankara will remain one of the key partners for development in South Sudan, reiterating its support for the national dialogue initiative and the ongoing High-Level Revitalization process in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Gabriel Yoah, deputy co-chair of the dialogue steering committee, said Turkey and South Sudan have historical ties dating back to the 18th century.
“Turks were here in South Sudan during Turco-Egyptian rule before the British and we appreciate support from Turkish people,” he said.
He said the initiative is meant to open up avenues to discuss political, social and economic problems facing South Sudan, and also offer a platform for reconciliation and healing in the young country.
South Sudan has been mired in conflict between Kiir’s government and rebels led by his former deputy Riek Machar since December 2013.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands and displaced almost 4 million people from their homes, including over a million refugees who have fled to neighboring countries