S. Sudanese rebel leader returns to South Africa

June 23, 2018 (ADDIS ABABA) – The leader of South Sudan’s armed opposition faction, Riek Machar on Saturday returned to South Africa where has been confined for the nearly two years.

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South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar speaks during a briefing in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa April 9, 2016 (Photo Reuters/ Tiksa Negeri)

Sudan Tribune understands that the South Sudan rebel leader and his two bodyguards left Ethiopia at 11:40PM aboard Ethiopian Airlines ET 859.

Machar was in Ethiopia for face-to-face discussions held on 20 June with President Salva Kiir under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) chairperson, Abiy Ahmed.

The regional bloc, in a communiqué issued on 21 June, said the South Sudanese rebel leader should be free to leave South Africa to any country of his choice except the IGAD region and that he shall be allowed to enter into and exit from Sudan and Kenya for the duration of the peace process.

IGAD also mandated the Sudanese President, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir to facilitate a second round of face–to-face discussion between President Kiir and Machar within two weeks to build on the Addis Ababa face-to-face talks.

The meeting, to be held in Khartoum, is expected to discuss and resolve the outstanding issues on governance and security arrangements including measures proposed in the revised bridging proposal of the IGAD Council of Ministers.

At the planned meeting on Khartoum meeting, according to IGAD, the leaders will also discuss measures to be taken to rehabilitate the South Sudanese economy through bilateral cooperation between South Sudan and neighboring Sudan.

The Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to facilitate the third round of face-to-face discussion between President Kiir and the South Sudanese rebel leader to facilitate the revitalization process and report the outcome and way forward to the upcoming ordinary session of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

Meanwhile, the regional bloc condemned in the “strongest” terms the repeated violations of the ceasefire agreement by the parties as reported by the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement Mechanism (CTSAMM) and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), saying Kenya shall further investigate the violation reports submitted by CTSAMM and JMEC and report to the next summit for appropriate targeted punitive measures to be taken.

(ST)