14/12/2016 HARDtalk

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Stephen Sackur talks to newsmakers and personalities from across the globe.

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online TV service in the UK by 2020. You are up today. Now, it is


aardvark. Welcome to HARDtalk,


with me, Zeinab Badawi. The people of South Sudan have known


little peace for many decades, and independence in 2011 has brought


them nothing but war, increasing poverty and


starvation, and suffering. Tens of thousands have died,


and more than 3 million have been forced to leave their homes


in the past three years. The United Nations says,


"The current spate of fighting amounts to ethnic cleansing,


and could spiral into genocide." The main rebel group is headed


by the former Vice President, My guest today is his wife,


Angelina Teny, who is a senior How much responsibility do they bear


for the suffering in South Sudan? The situation in


South Sudan is dire. What are you hearing about what's


going on on the ground? The humanitarian situation has


reached a level of catastrophe. The war is escalating even further,


and the economic situation, what we could say is it is no longer


on a free fall, but rather it has So, in a nutshell, you can


say that the situation for the normal citizen,


for the person there, The United Nations humanitarian


chief, Stephen O'Brien, says that 6 million people,


that's half of the population, are 5 million are in


danger of starvation. 3 million have been forced


to leave their homes. A million refugees, 2 million


internally displaced people. Who do you think is


responsible for this? Well, I can say that we are


responsible for ending it, and this We'll all come to that,


about ending it, but who do I would say the way our president,


President Salva, led the country has really led to this situation,


because what had happened is that our country,


just before starting, from 2011, was turned


into a police state. So dissenting views


are really not accepted. Then, when members of the ruling


party, the SPLM, tried to start a dialogue within the party in order


to recreate a vision and a direction for the country,


the President did not welcome that. You claim President Salva Kiir


of South Sudan, but I have to put it to you that your husband,


Riek Machar, who is the main rebel leader, has been a significant


player in South Sudan He's been a Vice President,


on and off, for 15 years, and he has to share the blame


for the situation that the people of South Sudan find


themselves in today. Well, definitely I cannot say


that he has been out of the system. He has been in the system


in South Sudan, but what you have to know is that my chairman,


when he decided to actually raise the concerns that our country


was facing, that is what brought the fallout, and that is


what actually led President Salva to introduce violence,


in order to rest finally peaceful dialogues within the party


and within the country. You're talking about the recent


fallout that the two About that one, not just from 2013,


because you know we've been engaged in trying to,


during the interim period, really to ensure that


the referendum succeeds. While we were doing that,


President Salva was also He was elected, and your husband,


Riek Machar, you were referring to the referendum in 2011 that


brought independence to South Sudan, But let me just carry


on my train of thought for you, which is that Riek Machar must share


the burden of responsibility South Sudan analyst,


former deputy defence minister Majak D'Agoot refers to the gun


class in South Sudan, "Sectarian warlords,


like Riek Machar, who have historically used violence,


channelled through appeals to ethnic nationalism,


to hijack the state Well, I would dispute that


as an accurate statement, because also Majak, as you know,


is another politician However, I want to establish


the fact that my husband, ..has been on records all the time


trying to correct the situation, trying to introduce institutional


reforms, systems of governance that will ensure a democratic


transformation, and this is actually what brings the fallout


between the leaders. I am not here to say


that there aren't many abundant criticism of


President Salva Kiir's government. There are many, from


the international community, But I am talking to you,


as a senior member of the Sudan People's Liberation


Movement-in-Opposition. If there are issues to put


to the government of South Sudan, we on HARDtalk will do that


when we talk to them. But if I may just continue


with putting to you some of the criticisms that are made


about your movement. So, you say that civilians


are being killed on the basis of tribal affiliations,


but there are reliable reports that rebel forces


of your opposition movement, or affiliated with your


movement, have also killed If you go back to the records,


including even the UN report, you will find


since when we officially established the SPLM-IO in April 2014,


that those those incidences have, in one way or another,


what ever that had happened before that we have investigated,


and we have actually addressed, since that, our movement has


not made it a policy, and therefore, you will not find


that there are incidences actually attributed to us


since we established organised. Human Rights Watch says in October


2016, rebels claiming affiliation with Riek Machar ambushed a convoy


of cars and trucks carrying civilians fleeing Yei,


killing mostly Dinka. The Dinka, of course, are the tribe


of President Salva Kiir - according to the CIA World Factbook,


about 36% of South Then Nuer tribe, from which you


and your husband hail, about 15%. I know the figures are disputed,


that they are the most Anyway, the point is that Dinka


were killed, mostly, An 11-year-old boy said, "They


started to shoot, and I lay down. The rebels then burned the truck,


killing dozens of occupants inside." Actually, my chairman has directed


an investigation if these are people truly affiliated to us,


because our people on the ground are under orders, with clear


and specific instructions, that they are not fighting


a war with anyone. Rather, they are resisting


the onslaught from the government. So that incident that


has been attributed by the Human Rights Watch,


we have investigated. Our forces on that part


of South Sudan have actually denied any responsibility,


or being part of it. The United Nations Mission,


UNMISS, in South Sudan, said in a very detailed report


in 2014, "Pro-Riek Machar forces sacked the oil town


of Bentiu in April 2014, killing hundreds of civilians,


notably in the mosque, the hospital, Definitely, actually,


the ICRC has done a report and we have a commission,


and we have actually made the report public,


and the people that were identified by the ICRC were


brought to book by... The International Committee


of the Red Cross, yes. I don't want to keep on doing


that, but there are... You know, UNMISS, the United Nations


mission, says there are reasonable grounds to believe that violations


of international human rights and humanitarian law have been


committed by both parties I would not deny absolutely to say


nothing had happened, that I would say it is not a policy,


and we are very determined to always, when something like that


happens, it is addressed, it is investigated, and the culprits


are actually brought to account. Yes, it is tragic, but we,


as a responsible organisation, don't believe you should allow


people who do that UNMISS, the UN, is urging both sides


to control their forces. We have, because if you go


back to the incidences of the Juba crisis on July 8th,


you would find that the way the SPLM-in-Opposition


conducted themselves, you would find civilians telling


you that we have actually got directives and protections,


and we have shown what to do and where to go, and so on,


whereas after we'd withdrawn, the catastrophe that


happened in Juba after that, well, everybody knows


about it, the killings... You are talking about the active


combat that broke out in July last year in the South Sudanese capital,


Juba, between Salva Kiir But I have to say to you that


you did not emerge without criticism Human Rights Watch again said,


"Regardless of the intentions of Machar's forces,


of going into civilian sites, the impact of the manoeuvre


was to endanger the thousands of civilians who were sheltering


in these UN protection sites, and that would constitute a war


crime of using human shields." And they also said, "Any Dinka


civilians who remained So you raised one example


of what went on there in July, and I'm saying to you,


again, that the forces of the SPLM-in-Opposition had


not emerged unscathed. Given that our side was very close


to the UN protection site, this is where the whole battle


actually took place. So we had no way of withdrawing


other than through that route, But what ever your intentions were,


you endangered civilians. I think it is worth explaining that,


as the conflict research American Alan Boswell,


based in Kenya, writing a book about South Sudan,


says," I think you have to different You have a fight between


President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar's coalitions over


who will be king, but there are a bunch of smaller groups


in South Sudan who are waging war So we accept that there are a range


of different perpetrators and unnamed militia groups


and so one, but the fact does remain, and I ask you again,


what do you say to the criticisms that forces of the Sudan People's


Liberation Movement-in-Opposition have committed some of these


atrocities against civilians - rape, looting, killing, violence,


that you yourself had condemned? We are saying that, as a movement,


we do not condone any of this. Even when we were negotiating


the agreement, the agreement and the resolution of the conflict


in the Republic of South Sudan, we stood very firm,


and we are on record. We fought for the inclusion


of transitional justice. Actually, we say justice


and accountability. And this is because we feel


that we must end impunity, and we must make people who actually


commit crimes against other human Including your chairman,


your husband? We call for it, we call for it


because we feel that it is needed. It is what will end


the situation in South sedan. It will end impunity,


and we say it without exception. Just on this point of genocide,


which is a very, very important one, because Adama Dieng,


the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide,


said at the end of last year, after visiting South Sudan,


"I was dismayed that what I saw confirmed my concern


that there is a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic


lines with the potential Our thinking is not even looming,


but rather in progress. Already the Obasanjo report,


which is the report ..had already established


that ethnic cleansing In the span of one week,


over 20,000 people were killed just because they belonged


to an ethnic group. This was done by men


in uniform, by government. Well, that's your accusation,


and I'm sure it will be looked at. Now, when you come to this situation


today, it is even worse, It is in Southern Unity,


it is in Central Equatoria, We have just walked


from Juba, after July. And we have seen it with our own


eyes, and it is a plan President Salva is on record


saying that we will hand There are criticisms


made about Salva Kiir, but I have to put it to you that


you are parties to this conflict, and arguably, are fuelling a lot


of the violence that For example, in September last


year, your movement, the SPLM-in-Opposition,


declared war on what it described as the "regime" in Juba,


saying it wants to wage a popular armed resistance against


the authoritarian and fascist regime of President Salva Kiir in order


to bring peace, freedom, democracy and the rule


of law in the country. Because there is already a war


going on, because already the regime The evidence to that is that,


unless you are telling us I have to say to you,


but you know yourself, Angelina Teney, that there


was widespread condemnation The US State Department's spokesman,


John Kirby, 28 September, said, "The US government strongly condemns


Riek Machar's statement." A joint statement by the troika


powers, the EU, Norway and the US, as well as other governments also


condemned calls by the opposition leaders for a renewal


of armed conflict. "Further fighting won't solve


South Sudan's pressing political It will only increase the suffering


of South Sudan's people", they said. I can tell you that if you saw


the communique that we issued during that meeting,


it talks about a political process that is needed


for the resuscitation That statement of the resistance


was actually the last So it was an option for the people


of South Sudan to continue, to be defended from the onslaught


that is going on. So our declaration is actually


for a political process. Look, that is not how


it is being seen at all. The East African Group of Nations,


known as EGAD, has said, on the 9th of December


in a communique, "We call upon the SPLM-in-Opposition


to renounce violence as a means of solving the problems


of South Sudan." We say, tell the government in Juba


to stop the offensive, the pursuit of people based


on ethnic affiliation, We say that if you hold


the government to account, because the government in Juba gets


encouraged with this statement, In fact, they are the one


on the offensive. Whatever the opposition


is doing, it's basically You're saying you're resisting,


but you use violence to resist? The other options are,


you go to be a refugee, you go to be internally displaced,


or you go to a UN protection camp, but if you find yourself,


that there is a way you can fight back, these people will fight back,


especially when there is no hope now, without any peace


process in place. Of course, there was a deal


in August 2015, known as "the agreement" for a resolution


of the conflict in South Sudan. You think that there is still a way


forward by resuscitating that? But there are also reports,


as we had in October, that Riek Machar announced that that


agreement was dead. We feel that it needs to be renewed


so that it is resuscitated, so that the people of South Sudan


are given a chance again to start. Remember, we did take risks


and we did go to Juba Only even based on some of the UN


reports, as you know, President Salva started to introduce


violence, and we had to leave Now we are still committed


to a political settlement. This political settlement,


we believe that this agreement has It any needs to be revived,


to be reviewed, so that we can also But really, you've been


marginalised, you've been pushed to the sidelines,


Riek Machar, the leader We've seen Taban Deng appointed


as the new Vice President. The international community have


lined up behind him, and President Salva Kiir,


rightly or wrongly, is being seen as somebody that the international


community can deal with. Festus Mogae, former


president of Botswana, who chairs the joint monitoring


and evaluation commission, has said, So you've been written


out of the picture. The war hasn't stopped,


but the international community has lined up a between Salva Kiir


and his new deputy, Taban Deng, who is from the Nuer


tribe, as you are. You've just spoken


about a genocide looming. If that government was doing


something that was good for the country, definitely


there would be no reports talking So, in a nutshell, the peace


agreement has collapsed. The government continues to pursue


a scorched earth policy for targeting civilians,


for targeting those that So if the international community


believe, and President Salva Kiir believes, that by having Taban Deng


as his deputy, replacing the person appointed by the government,


will bring peace, we should have In December last year,


President Salva Kiir announced Again, the international community


have said they will support this national dialogue in any way


that they can. Why don't you join this national


dialogue and renounce violence? The national dialogue can never be


a replacement for a peace process A national dialogue,


you need a conducive environment where people can


actually freely speak. Something that is absent


now in South Sudan. For you to join a national dialogue,


you first of all must create the environment whereby you have


that space for everybody to be able Let's create that space


by resuscitating the agreement, and once the agreement


is resuscitated, we will have the environment,


and the agreement now provides How can you do that when Riek Machar


is in South Africa. Is he under house


arrest in South Africa? The South Africans themselves have


answered and said he's So why isn't he going around


lobbying governments, Because I'm a member


of the movement. Remember, I negotiated


our security... Is he going to go back


to South Sudan, not to Juba... Does he still think


he's Vice President? He's not Vice President,


because there's no transitional government of national


unity in place. The government in


Juba is the regime. Since the agreement has collapsed,


that leaves you with a regime Finally, in the last few seconds,


a senior African statesman, who is very aware of what is going


on in South Sudan, has told me that South Sudan will know no peace


until both Salva Kiir Because we, as in opposition,


offer an alternative. We have a programme in place


that we believe we actually can transform that country,


and move it to the next level. We know that President Salva Kiir


cannot do that, because he has been We even introduced, before


the outbreak of the 2013 crisis, a process of national reconciliation


that would allow the South Sudanese