S. Sudan rebels welcome Machar’s release from S. Africa

June 20, 2018 (ADDIS ABABA) – The diplomatic corps of South Sudan’s armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) have lauded the Ethiopian government and the regional bloc (IGAD) for organizing face-to-face talks between Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar addresses a news conference in Uganda’s capital Kampala January 26, 2016 (Reuters photo)

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed attended Wednesday’s meeting, which saw the two rival leaders meet for the first time after nearly two years.

The meeting between Kiir and Machar was to discuss all outstanding issues in the power-sharing chapter within the peace agreement.

“By allowing the principals of the warring parties to sit and sift through their differences to address the root-causes and stop the war, IGAD has correctly diagnosed the problem and has set the negotiations on the right course,” the SPLM-IO said in a statement.

It further added, “We would, therefore, like to express our gratitude to Prime Minister Abiye for his wise leadership and timely decision.”

The armed opposition extended its appreciation to the regional countries and the Troika nations for their positive roles in efforts aimed at finding a lasting solution to the civil war in South Sudan.

The South Sudanese civil war is an ongoing conflict in South Sudan between forces of the government and opposition forces. In mid-December 2013, President Kiir accused his former deputy Machar and 10 others of attempting a coup d’état.

The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over two million.

(ST)