4 July 2014

South Sudanese Rebel Leader Concludes "Fruitful" Visit to Pretoria

Photo: Paul Banks/UN Photo
Southern Sudan Police Service

Addis Ababa — Former vice-president and leader of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Riek Machar, has concluded a four-day visit to South Africa where he met with President Jacob Zuma.

Machar's spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, described the visit as "successful and fruitful."

"Yes, our chairman Comrade Dr. Riek Machar and the accompanying delegation have returned to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Friday evening after a four-day successful visit to South Africa. I don't want to go into the details now, but I want to say his meeting with His Excellency President Jacob Zuma was fruitful," Dak told Sudan Tribune.

Earlier on Tuesday, Dak explained that the rebel leader was warmly welcomed at the State House by the South African leadership in which they discussed a wide range of issues.

"The meeting discussed a wide-range of issues pertaining to the ongoing peace process in Addis Ababa," he said, adding that Machar also briefed the South African leadership about "the genesis of the crisis which started in the ruling party, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)."

The former vice-president, he said, visited South Africa on the invitation by the host government.

Machar, he said, together with chairman of external relations, Dhieu Mathok Diing, his deputy, Amb Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth and Madam Angelina Teny, Machar's wife, were picked at the Addis Ababa international airport on Tuesday by a special jet and accompanied on board by the South African ambassador to Ethiopia.

The rebel leader has been on diplomatic offensive to undo what he said was president Salva Kiir's false story of attempted 15 December coup which he propagated in the region, although only Uganda, which recently backed down from the allegation, used to support claim.

The visit by the opposition top leader is the third leg in the region after "successful" tours to Ethiopia and Kenya.

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