South Sudan: Kiir, Machar to Resume Talks Wednesday

President Salva Kirr and rebel leader Riek Machar

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar are meeting in Juba this week to discuss security matters and other issues ahead of a November 12th deadline for forming a unity government.

Kiir and Machar met at the State House for a few hours on Monday evening and are expected to meet again Wednesday.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said Kiir and Machar put off meeting Tuesday because the president is involved with other events.  He was reported to be accrediting foreign ambassadors.

Officials said Monday's talks concentrated on ramping up the process for screening and reunifying forces to create a united national army before Machar returns in November to serve for a second time as South Sudan’s First Vice President.

This was Machar’s first visit to Juba since last October.

He arrived with a delegation of more than 60 people, many of whom chanted the SPLM-IO slogan “viva”, meaning “victory” or “long live” in Spanish upon their arrival at Juba International Airport.

Ateny said Kiir and Machar will also take up the divisive issue of determining the number of South Sudanese states and their boundaries.

He indicated that yesterday’s meeting went well.

“Yesterday the positive meeting that took place has given hope that the formation of the government in November is a working thing, people can talk about it,” said Ateny.

Kiir and Machar led opposing sides in a five-year civil war that ended with a peace agreement last year.

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