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MACHAR Joins Kiir and Rebecca in the Vatican

Dr. Riek Machar (File photo)

By Woja Emmanuel Wani

The leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement In-Opposition (SPLM-IO) Dr. Riek Machar has joined President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Taban Deng Gai and Vice President designate Madam Rebecca Nyandeng Garang in the Vatican for spiritual retreat.

President Kiir, Gen. Taban Deng Gai and Rebecca Garang had travelled to the Holy City on Tuesday.

President Salva Kiir and the designated five vice presidents were invited by Pope Francis to the Vatican for a retreat on confidence building between the leaders.

The meeting comes a month after President Kiir met with Pope Francis in the Vatican to discuss the peace process in the country.

Dr. Machar however delayed to travel from the Sudanese Capital, Khartoum because of belated permission from the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to attend the meeting.

On Tuesday Dr. Machar wrote a letter to Hirut Zememe, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Chairperson of IGAD, requesting him to permit him to attend the peace retreat but the request delayed up to yesterday when he was granted the go ahead.

The Director for Information and Public Relations for the SPLM-IO, Puok Both Baluang confirmed to Juba Monitor yesterday that Dr. Machar and his accompanying delegation left Khartoum in the morning.

“The SPLM/A-IO would like to inform members of the public that Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon and his accompanying delegation left Khartoum this morning to attend the spiritual retreat in the Vatican,” Puok said in a statement to Juba Monitor.

He said Dr. Machar was accompanied by ten members including Henry D. Odwar, SPLM/A-IO Deputy Chairman, Angelina Teny Chairperson of the Strategic Defense and Security Sector Review, Dr. Koang Dak and other high profile members.

The leaders are expected to return to Juba tomorrow as Machar will head back to Khartoum.

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