Government and rebels push for South Sudan peace

The South Sudan government has re-affirmed commitment to making peace with rebel leader Riek Machar.

Information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei confirmed the planned dialogue between President Salva Kiir and Dr Machar in Khartoum.

He said the dialogue was the initiative of Kenya’s opposition supremo Raila Odinga, Sudanese President Omar Bashir and Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Mr Makuei’s sentiments followed Dr Machar’s talks with Mr Odinga in Pretoria, South Africa on Friday.

“The position of President Kiir is that yes, he will meet Riek Machar but this should be with the involvement of Igad because he does not want it to be seen as something done outside Igad,” Mr Makuei told the media in Juba.
The regional bloc

He said the time and the venue would be agreed on by the regional bloc.

Following his meeting with Mr Odinga, Dr Machar vowed to change South Sudan’s fortunes by pushing for peace and stability.

He said his faction would continue to advocate peaceful resolution of the conflict in the young nation, triggered by political differences between him and President Kiir.

“I have had a fruitful discussion with Hon Raila Odinga in the quest for peace in our country. The status quo should not stand. Something will change,” Dr Machar wrote on his official Tweeter account after meeting the Kenyan opposition supremo.

Mr Raila, who recently made peace with President Uhuru Kenyatta, was sent by the Kenya government to push for direct talks between the two South Sudan leaders.
The stalemate

Dr Machar leads the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/ Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), the main armed opposition group fighting to topple President Kiir.

Several previous attempts by Igad to end the stalemate in South Sudan have failed.
The current war broke out in December 2013 and has claimed more than 100,000 lives, according to the International Crisis Group.

Over 2 million South Sudanese have become refugees, the UN says.
Seven million more South Sudanese were food insecure, according to aid agencies.

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