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No return to war, South Sudan says

July 30, 2013 at 11:16 AM   |   Comments

JUBA, South Sudan, July 30 (UPI) -- South Sudan's president said the rival government in Khartoum was working against him, though he'd never return his country to a state of war.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir fired his Cabinet last week. A government spokesman said the measure was long overdue.

South Sudan and Sudan remain at odds despite resolving in 2005 to end a civil war that raged for nearly 20 years. Part of the peace agreement ensured South Sudan's independence.

Kiir said Monday he would work to form a government reflecting the will of the people.

"We want to reward them with provision of services," he was quoted by the independent Sudan Tribune as saying. "We want to build schools, hospitals, roads, clean water and all the other basic necessities."

South Sudan is one of the poorest nations in the world, relying on limited oil export options for much of its government revenue. Kiir said Sudan was using oil as a political tool to force the collapse of his government.

Both sides approached the brink of war last year following border clashes, rebel fighting and disputes over oil. Kiir said he'd always seek dialogue with the Sudanese government.

"I have told our people time and again that I will never return them to war whatsoever," he said. "This stance has not changed and will never change."

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