The IGAD Special Envoys to the South Sudan Mediation Process announce that H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan (RSS) and Dr. Riek Machar, Former Vice President-turned-rebel-leader are set to meet in Addis Ababa on Friday, May 9th 2014.
This will mark the first face-to-face meeting between President Kiir and rebel leader Machar since the eruption in December 2013 of South Sudan's civil war that claimed the lives of thousands of South Sudanese. According to a statement from the regional mediator IGAD, the two are set to meet "in accordance with the invitation extended" by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, who is the current Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly.
"The Special Envoys expect that this critical meeting will help end the violence and killings in South Sudan and provide the necessary impetus to the ongoing IGAD-led Mediation Process towards an inclusive and lasting political solution to the crisis," said the statement.
On a visit to South Sudan for the first time, on Tuesday May 06th UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that rebel leader Machar was read for peace talks to end the conflict. The Un accuses both sides of committing atrocities.
"The Special Envoys note encouraging developments as the Parties have agreed to immediately begin tackling substantive issues that address the root causes of the crisis," IGAD said, adding "these include the implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and Permanent Ceasefire; Transitional Governance and Interim Arrangements, and a Permanent Constitution."
The latest talk between President Kiir and rebel leader Machar follows a signing in Addis Ababa on May 5 of a "Re-commitment on Humanitarian Matters in the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and SPLM/A (In Opposition)". The agreement includes a commitment to observe 30 'days of tranquility' starting from 7 May 2014, in order to preposition humanitarian supplies and enable the people of South Sudan to plant their food crops, care for their livestock, and move to areas of safety. The Parties have further committed to open all humanitarian corridors within South Sudan (via river, roads, rail and air) and from the neighboring countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda).