South Sudan leader, rebel leader should meet: Regional bloc

By AP

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ADDIS ABABA, — A regional bloc mediating South Sudan peace talks wants a face-to-face meeting between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar by July as pressure grows to end a five-year civil war.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s statement also decides to submit “punitive measures” against violators of December’s failed cease-fire. The statement doesn’t say who would be targeted. Sanctions need approval by the bloc’s heads of state and government.

Machar has been under house arrest in South Africa. The statement indicates that the proposed meeting with South Sudan’s president ahead of an African Union summit on July 1 in Mauritania will inform a “final decision” on Machar’s participation in the peace process.

International frustration is rising over the conflict, which began in late 2013 when Kiir sacked his deputy, Machar.