Machar in Ethiopia for talks with President Kiir

By The Eastafrican

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South Sudan’s main rebel leader, Dr Riek Machar, arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday morning for a face-to-face meeting with his nemesis President Salva Kiir.

Dr Machar was received at the Bole International Airport by Ethiopian foreign ministry officials and his deputy, Henry Odwar — who has been leading the opposition’s delegation in the peace talks in Addis.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in Opposition (SPLM-IO) faction, says Dr Machar’s arrival in Ethiopia marks his release from house arrest in South Africa where he has been since November 2016.

James Oryema, the SPLM-IO spokesperson in Kenya, said they expect their leader to now participate in future deliberations.

President Kiir is also expected in Addis Ababa in the afternoon for the meeting convened by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who chairs the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) bloc that is leading the South Sudan peace talks.

The two South Sudan leaders are expected to discuss issues on governance among the composition of the Cabinet, ratios of political parties representation in parliament, and formation of state governments.

“Negotiators failed to agree and referred issues of governance to be addressed by President Kiir and Dr Machar in their historic meeting,” said Information Minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei on Tuesday.

“So, everything is suspended, awaiting the face-to-face meeting, after which maybe a draft will be prepared and presented to the Igad Council of Ministers for consideration,” read the statement by Mr Makuei which was broadcasted by state-owned television.