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KIIR, MACHAR Expected in Khartoum today

Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar (File Photo)

By Woja Emmanuel Wani

A government advanced team left Juba for Khartoum yesterday with President Salva Kiir expected to travel today to meet Dr. Riek Machar face to face again.

Speaking through telephone interview with Juba Monitor, Ambassador John Andruga said that the President will leave Juba toady for the meeting which he said was going to take place on the 26th as per the communique of the Inter-governmental Community on Development (IGAD).

“The meeting is proposed by Khartoum to be on the 26th, now our team is going there and the President will follow.  President Salva Kiir is determined to meet Riek Machar to find an end to this conflict and that is his commitment. So he can meet Riek anywhere,” Ambassador Andruga said.

Ambassador Andruga did not specify who exactly was leading the advanced delegation to Khartoum. However, earlier, the Information Minister who is the government spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth told Juba Monitor that “We are leaving right now for Khartoum,” adding that the President was in the negotiation team when asked whether President Kiir was among them.

Last week the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry said that South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar will meet in Khartoum for another round of talks after face to face meeting ended in deadlock.

Kiir and Machar met in the Ethiopian capital this week, the first time the two men had met since 2016 when a peace deal collapsed spectacularly, leading to the deaths of hundreds of people in the South Sudanese capital of Juba.

But after the meeting convened by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, representatives of Kiir and Machar poured cold water on hopes for an end to the five-year civil war, by dismissing the “bridging” proposal put forward by the regional body IGAD.

It also became quickly apparent that while South Sudan’s government was open to having the opposition in the vice president’s role, they would not accept having Machar return to the position.

“Machar cannot be part of the government, simply because we have had enough of him” government spokesman Michael Makuei said.

Sudan is a member of IGAD, which has led the faltering peace process for South Sudan.

The war that broke out in 2013, less than two years after oil-rich South Sudan gained independence from Sudan, has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people and triggered the biggest displacement crisis in Africa since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

Despite the apparent failure of this week’s efforts to get Kiir and Machar to find common ground in Addis Ababa, the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Friday:

“Preparations are afoot to give a new impetus to this new round of talks and ensure a successful outcome.”

The ministry said this week’s talks would be convened by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, a key player in South Sudan’s history.

Before the people of South Sudan voted for secession and declared independence in 2011, the region fought a brutal conflict for more than two decades against the Sudanese armed forces and militias led by Bashir.

In a similar development the civil society alliance has expressed dismay over the face to face outcome between President Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.

The chairperson of the civil society alliance Kornelio Kon Ngu said that there is lack of political will from both parties and lack of clear formulae to address the root causes of their differences which is widening the gap and annihilating the trust between them.

Ngu said that the CSA parties would therefore appreciate being part of the talks going on.

“The National Alliance Political Parties will appreciate to be included in the two principles face to face meetings to intensify its ideologies and strategies which will diligently and strongly lay a formula to influence the two leaders to work together during the would-be transitional government,” Ngu said in a statement extended to Juba Monitor.



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