NO PLAN, For Kiir, Machar meeting in Ethiopia
By Peter James Loruba
President Salva Kiir Mayardit will not meet the opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia next week.
Yesterday, Presidential Spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny said, “No, they won’t meet because President Salva Kiir is travelling to Addis Ababa on Wednesday the 1st August for working visit and working visit does not include meeting Dr. Riek Machar.”
In an exclusive interview with Juba Monitor on phone, Mr Ateny Wek Ateny dismissed recent claims in a section of the media that plans were underway for the two leaders to meet in Addis Ababa.
Instead he confirmed that President Kiir will meet Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to discuss bilateral issues between the two countries.
“Dr. Riek Machar is supposed to meet President Salva Kiir here in Juba because the agreement was already signed and they are in the process of implementing the agreement that will run up to the formation of the Revitalized Government of National Unity, which is in waiting, so there is no need for the President to be meeting Riek Machar outside the country,” Ateny said.
Ateny reiterated that there are no plans whatsoever for President Kiir to meet Dr. Machar in Addis Ababa as purported by certain quarters.
Instead, he called on Dr. Machar to come to Juba if there is anything that will make him want to meet the President.
“If there is anything he should talk to the President, it should be in Juba.”
Since the extension of the Pre-transitional period to November, pressure continues to mount on the two leaders to meet but none has come to fruition to date.
Earlier this month, a letter addressed by Dr. Riek Machar to the President through Tut Gatluak, the chairperson of the NPTC in response to the President’s invitation for a meeting in Juba laid a number of conditions before the said meeting could take place.
Dr. Riek Machar is currently in Addis Ababa after a call to attend a series of meetings by the UN. Coincidentally, President Kiir will be in Addis Ababa next week.
There have been reports that the two leaders could meet to discuss important national issues. But yesterday, Mr Ateny Wek Ateny quashed such reports.
The government and opposition groups are trying to implement the pre-transitional arrangements of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, but the process continues to face serious headwinds as many protocols including security arrangements remain unimplemented.
In May, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the regional mediator extended the pre-transitional period to November to allow implementation of the pending arrangements but peace monitor JMEC recently raised concerns that time was running out.