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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid