Politics, Africa

South Sudan opposition leader Machar arrives in Juba

Riek Machar is accompanied by deputy head of Sudan's Sovereign Council Hemiti and other senior members

By Benjamin Takpiny   | 09.09.2019
South Sudan opposition leader Machar arrives in Juba

JUBA, South Sudan

South Sudan opposition Riek Machar arrived in the capital Juba on Monday to meet his one-time foe, President Salva Kiir.

Machar is accompanied by the deputy head of Sudan's Sovereign Council, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dalgo, a.k.a. Hemiti, and other senior council members.

Speaking to reporters at Juba international Airport, presidential security advisor Tut Gatluak said Machar and Kiir will discuss some pending issues on implementation of the peace agreement with an eye to resolving them today.

He added that a delegation from neighboring Sudan will also meet with Kiir to discuss peace in Sudan, saying: "The stability of both countries is very important, stability in Sudan is also stability in South Sudan"

Machar fled the country in July 2016 after his forces clashed with Kiir’s. This is the second time Machar has come to Juba since 2016, aside from a peace celebration last October.

Based on the agreement, which was signed in Addis Ababa in September 2018 under the mediation of East Africa’s eight-nation trading and security bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the South Sudanese government and opposition should have formed a transitional government in May leading to elections in 30 months.

The pre-transitional period was extended by another six months through Nov. 12, but many issues remain pending, particularly concerning security arrangements, federal state formation, and military movement.

South Sudan slid into crisis when Kiir sacked Machar as vice president in December 2013 on suspicion of plotting a coup, followed by a protracted civil war that claimed the lives of tens of thousands and forced 4 million people to flee their homes.

Before a 2018 peace deal, five years of fighting between the two leaders crippled the country, with millions displaced and almost 400,000 people dead from violence and disease.

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