News / Africa

South Sudan Opposition Chief Emerges from Hiding for Talks with Kiir

  • South Sudanese President Salva Kiir is due to hold face-to-face talks with his former deputy Riek Machar in Addis Ababa on Friday.
  • Sources say South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar arrived in Addis Ababa Thursday, May 8, 2014, for talks with President Salva Kiir.
Marthe van der WolfLucy Poni
South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar emerged from months of hiding and traveled to the Ethiopian capital Thursday for a high-stakes meeting with President Salva Kiir, aimed at ending months of deadly fighting in their country, sources told South Sudan in Focus.

Machar arrived in Addis Ababa on Thursday, sources said. Kiir is expected in the city on Friday, when the talks are scheduled to be held. 

The two men were invited to meet in Addis Ababa by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

During a visit to Juba last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed Kiir and Machar to hold talks to try to end five months of violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives and pushed South Sudan to the edge of humanitarian disaster.
 
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon holds a child as he visits a UN compound in Juba on May 6, 2014, where thousands of displaced persons have sought shelter. The hair of many of the children is beginning to turn red, a sign of malnutrition.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon holds a child as he visits a UN compound in Juba on May 6, 2014, where thousands of displaced persons have sought shelter. The hair of many of the children is beginning to turn red, a sign of malnutrition.
Days after Kerry visited, both men pledged to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that they would take part in the talks.

Goi Jooyul, a spokesman for the opposition delegation at peace talks for South Sudan, which are also being held in Addis Ababa, called the two leaders' willingness to meet a good sign that would "give a push or a blessing to the ongoing peace process."

Jooyul also expressed the hope that the two leaders will "have a roadmap on how this thing (peace talks) should proceed."


Month of tranquility appears to be holding


The meeting between Kiir and Machar is due to take place on the third day of a month-long truce that the two sides agreed to early this week.

Called the "month of tranquility," the truce is aimed at allowing aid agencies to get food and relief supplies to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been forced to flee their homes since fighting started five months ago, to allow farmers to plant crops and cattle herders to tend to their livestock.
Civilians crush up against the gates of the UNMISS compound in Bor, Jonglei state, days after South Sudan erupted in violence in December 2013. Thousands are still sheltering at UN bases.Civilians crush up against the gates of the UNMISS compound in Bor, Jonglei state, days after South Sudan erupted in violence in December 2013. Thousands are still sheltering at UN bases.
x
Civilians crush up against the gates of the UNMISS compound in Bor, Jonglei state, days after South Sudan erupted in violence in December 2013. Thousands are still sheltering at UN bases.
Civilians crush up against the gates of the UNMISS compound in Bor, Jonglei state, days after South Sudan erupted in violence in December 2013. Thousands are still sheltering at UN bases.


The truce took effect on Wednesday and, a day later, appeared to be holding, with no reports of major clashes in South Sudan, including towns that have been rocked by heavy fighting in recent weeks.

Media reports said Peter Gadet, the opposition military leader in the war-torn town of Bentiu, who was one of two South Sudanese officials slapped with U.S. sanctions this week, has agreed to lay down arms during the truce period, while another report quoted Information Minister Michael Makuei as saying the government will abide by the truce.

When the two sides inked the "month of tranquility" deal, they also recommitted to a cessation of hostilities agreement that was signed in late January, but has been repeatedly violated since then.
Kiir would like a situation whereby he will lead the transition government and remain as commander in chief... Machar is going to press for a transition not led by Kiir and not led by himself.


The regional bloc mediating the peace talks in Addis Ababa, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), said in a statement this week that the two sides have also agreed to "immediately begin tackling substantive issues that address the root causes of the crisis" in South Sudan.

Those include discussions on a reaching a durable ceasefire agreement, setting up a transitional government, and drafting a permanent constitution for the young country, which became an independent nation less than three years ago, IGAD said.
 

Differences on interim government


Regional security analyst David Pulkol said the talks between Kiir and Machar may get hung up on the details of an interim governmnet.

"Kiir would like a situation whereby he will lead the transition government and remain as commander in chief, run the transition and go to elections," which are due to be held next year, Pulkol told South Sudan in Focus.

"He'll try to convince Dr. Riek Machar to get him on board and then they would put together a government of national unity," said Pulkol.

"But people around Machar are saying he will be rejecting that proposal for a transition led by Kiir -- that Machar is going to press for a transition not led by Kiir, and not led by himself," he said.

Lucy Poni reported from Nairobi. John Tanza contributed to this article from Washington, D.C.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: David Adika from: NAIROBI WEST
May 09, 2014 2:15 PM
s sudan is a blessed people. they should live up to the standard. i urgue christians throughout the world to pray for brothers in christ in s sudan, blue nile,s. kor dofan and abyei


by: Human Eaters from: Juba
May 09, 2014 8:22 AM
President Kiir must not stepdown untill 2015 general election and not now as the rebels side has put.
If IGAD will accepte the decision made by rebels then the matter will be worsen.


by: Human Eaters from: Nairobi
May 09, 2014 7:48 AM
Let him come and the challenges and the reason he decided to kill people in name of President Kiir. NYARIAK MACHAR is l always started killing always run into the bush and always started war. Riak Machar is a foolish Dr and have a bad idioscrasy. Riak should know that we South Sudanese are very trird war and we wabt peace at this movement and not disagreement between him and president Kiir coze we have seen the committement of president Kiir. Please Nyaria;Commit yourself to peace process.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid