Igad in another move to reconcile South Sudan leaders

Thursday June 14 2018

A combo photo of South Sudan President Salva

A combo photo of South Sudan President Salva Kiir (left) and the leader of South Sudan’s largest rebel group and former Vice-President Riek Machar. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOSEPH ODUHA
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A historic meeting between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and the leader of armed opposition, Dr Riek Machar, has been slated for June 20 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) says the talks are aimed at making the rival leaders commit to building lasting peace and stability in the war-torn country.

The regional bloc has already extended the invitation letters to the two leaders. The letters were dispatched by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Attend the talks

Dr Machar's faction has responded to the Igad invitation, expressing readiness of their leader to attend the talks.

“The leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/ Army (SPLM/A-IO) acknowledges receipt of the invitation letter for the face-to-face meeting between the two leaders to take place on 20th of June, 2018 in Addis Ababa,” the group said in a statement.

The current war broke out in December 2013 after President Kiir fell out with his then deputy, Dr Machar.

Become refugees

The war has claimed more than 100,000 lives, according to the International Crisis Group.

Several previous attempts by Igad to end the stalemate in South Sudan have failed.

Over 2 million South Sudanese have become refugees, the UN says.

Seven million more South Sudanese were food insecure, according to aid agencies.