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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid