South Sudan: Rebel Leader Arrives in Ethiopia for Direct Talks With Kiir

Photo: Voxcom/IRIN
Dr Riek Machar pictured in 2007.

Addis Ababa/Juba — South Sudan rebel leader, Riek Machar, Thursday evening arrived in the Ethiopian capital venue of the IGAD brokered peace process, where he will hold face-to-face talks with president Salva Kiir.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune from Addis Ababa Bole international Airport, spokesperson of the SPLM/SPLA in opposition, Mabior Garang, confirmed the arrival of Riek Machar at around 8pm local time.

The two rival leaders will hold direct talks on Friday, their first meeting since fighting in South Sudan broke out in mid-December between the two SPLM warring faction.

The agenda of the meeting remain unclear. However, Ethiopia government sources said immediate end of the violence, forming a transitional government and power sharing will be center of discussions.

In Juba also multiple government officials, including foreign diplomats claimed the talks would include an outline for inclusive transitional government in the country

Regarding the arrival of President Salva Kiir, his office said that he would travel for the meeting on Friday.

Also the Ethiopia foreign ministry spokesperson, Ambassador Dina Mufti later told Sudan Tribune that president Kiir would arrive in Addis Ababa on Friday, same day the direct talks are scheduled to take place.

Kiir and Machar agreed for the direct talks after a visit by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, to Juba and a telephone conversation with the rebel leader. Also, they received an official invitation from the Ethiopian prime minister and IGAD chairperson Hailemariam Desalegn.

The two rival leaders are expected to hold consultation meeting with Desalegn, prior to the direct talks.

The conflict in the world's newest nation erupted on December 15 when President Salva Kiir accused Machar of staging a coup, an accusation the latter denies.

Violence has left tens of thousands of people killed and forced more than 1.3 million to flee their homes.

Both sides are being accused of committing war crimes and atrocities in many parts of the country. The UN on Wednesday said crimes against humanity were likely committed by the two rivals.

The rebel and government delegations are under IGAD led negotiations since January however the two sides have so far failed to make a major breakthrough that would stem the violence.

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Dr Riek Machar pictured in 2007.

President Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have agreed on a peace accord. They met in Addis Ababa for the first time since the eruption in December 2013 of the civil war that ... Read more »