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Museveni in Sudan for Kiir-Machar peace talks

Kampala- President Museveni is in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where South Sudan president Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar are holding a face-to-face discussion to reach a comprise-deal to end the nearly two years political crisis in their country.

The meeting between Mr Kiir and Dr Machar, chaired by Sudan president Omar-al-Bashir, was called last week by the Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD), the seven-member regional bloc that has been facilitating the South Sudan peace talks since fighting first broke out in December 2013.

Upon arrival in Khartoum yesterday, President Museveni, as an intercessor on President Kiir’s behalf, first held consultative meetings with Mr Bashir and the two warring parties.

According to a State House statement, Mr Museveni implored the parties to continue dialoguing “concretise ground for the development of their country”.

“I used to see South Sudan developing but later it went into a standstill because of disunity,” the President was quoted.

“During the short period of time I have been here today, we have had discussions into the matters of peace in South Sudan and we have had a good starting point to restore political normalcy.”

By press time yesterday, a meeting attended by all parties, including representatives of the United Nations, China, United States, Norway, UK, and IGAD was still underway.

It is expected that the two warring parties will further discuss the IGAD proposal of the two principals working together, with Mr Kiir remaining president and Mr Machar as First vice president, which the former rejected last week in Addis Ababa.

Other sticking issues include restructuring the country from the current 32 states back to 10 in line with the 2015 peace agreement, restructuring and committing to a lean government to reduce wastage of resources, and dissolution and reconstitution of institutions of government.

The Khartoum summit is a follow-up to last week’s IGAD summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, attended by Mr Bashir, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Djibouti’s Ismail Omar Guelleh and Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed while Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa represented President Museveni.

The African Union chairperson, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, and other representatives also attended.
The Addis Ababa summit directed that the Khartoum meeting “discusses and resolves the outstanding issues on governance and security” and “measures to rehabilitate the economy through bilateral cooperation between South Sudan and Sudan as neighbours.

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