South Sudan Rejects IGAD Venue for Kiir-Machar Talks

Protesting in Washington against the ongoing war in South Sudan (file photo).

South Sudan government has rejected the proposed venue for face-to-face talks between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.

The Information minister and government spokesperson, Mr Michael Makuei, has said the historic meeting can only take place in a neutral country.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) had slated the meeting for June 20 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"There are competing interests among Igad member states such as Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya," Mr Makuei said.

The three countries had offered to host the Kiir-Machar meeting.

"It seems that there is some sort of undeclared competition," he told the media in Juba.

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Mr Makuei said President Kiir would rather travel to South Africa to meet with Dr Machar.

"The best thing is to hold it in a neutral ground," Mr Makuei said in response to the Igad invitation.

Mr Machar has been under house arrest in South Africa since November 2016.

Last week, his faction expressed their leader's readiness to attend the talks in Addis Ababa.

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