Africa

S.Sudan: President, opposition leader delay 2nd meeting

President's busy schedule blamed for delay, but some fear problems in peace process in civil war-torn country

Benjamin Takpiny   | 10.09.2019
S.Sudan: President, opposition leader delay 2nd meeting

JUBA, South Sudan 

A second face-to-face meeting between South Sudan’s president and opposition leader was officially pushed back to Wednesday due to President Salva Kiir’s busy schedule, raising fears of problems in the process. 

“The second phase of discussion on the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement on the resolution of conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, and that is the political process, will actually begin tomorrow,” Ateny Wek Ateny, Kiir’s spokesman, said Tuesday.

Meeting yesterday in the capital Juba, Kiir and Riek Machar discussed some pending tasks of the extended period before the formation of a transitional government of national unity this November.

Ateny described the meeting as very cordial and friendly, “not like any other meeting they held before. This is a very positive meeting and it gives a glimpse of hope to the people of South Sudan that this peace is the most working peace that the former parties in war have signed so far.”

But Edmund Yakani, a civil society activist, called today’s postponement disturbing and unfortunate, as people are hoping the next meeting will be a smooth one.

The people of South Sudan want to hear positive messages about moves towards peace, not delays, he added.

He urged the two leaders to commit themselves to the peace agreement and put other things aside.

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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