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South Sudanese President Kiir and Machar to Meet Wednesday in Ethiopia for Talks

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Ethiopia is attempting to broker a peace deal to end the civil war in South Sudan. President Salva Kiir is widely expected to meet with his rival and former Vice President Riek Machar in Addis Ababa as part of negotiation talks to bring to the world’s youngest country and end the war that has ravaged the nation since 2013.

In a statement issued by Ethiopia’s foreign ministry, ”The meeting on South Sudan tomorrow will be held under the auspices of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with the aim of bridging gaps between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar”

Machar has been under house arrest in South Africa since late 2016 and is expected to arrive the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa on Wednesday for these talks.

Fighting in South Sudan first erupted when soldiers loyal to President Kiir and Machar, then Vice-President exchange fire in December 2013 shortly after Kiir fired his deputy from his post. Barely two years after the country has its independence from Sudan.

The conflict has been an ethnically-charged one which has resulted in the killing of tens of thousands of people, internally displaced thousands of others and pushed a greater part of the population to starvation and famine.

A series of previously negotiated ceasefires and peace treaties have not lived up to expectation.

Foreign ministers from the East African bloc, IGAD will discuss the situation in South Sudan on Thursday, to be followed by a leaders’ gathering in Ethiopia’s capital as confirmed by country’s foreign ministry.

Raila Odinga, the mediator of the face-to-face meeting and IGAD are hoping the two rivals can reach a peace deal that will be reported to next month’s African Union Summit scheduled for July 1-2 in Mauritania.

The meeting between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar will be the first time the two have met since the failed peace deal was reached by the government and the rebel group of Machar back in August 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neba Benson,

BaretaNews Foreign Correspondent/Analyst

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