Igad calls for fur­ther talks on South Su­dan peace

The East African - - NEWS - By FRED OLU­OCH Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

THE RE­GIONAL body in charge of the South Su­dan peace talks has called for an­other round of talks in Ad­dis Ababa from June 16 to 18, as Khar­toum of­fers to host talks be­tween Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir and his for­mer deputy Dr Riek Machar.

The In­ter-gov­ern­men­tal Author­ity on De­vel­op­ment (Igad) Spe­cial En­voy to South Su­dan, Ismail Wais, wrote to stake­hold­ers ask­ing them to re­sume the talks, which ad­journed on May 23 with lit­tle progress.

The next meet­ing will iden­tify pos­si­ble com­pro­mises and build con­sen­sus on out­stand­ing ar­eas such as power shar­ing and se­cu­rity ar­range­ments. This comes as Su­dan of­fered to host a pro­posed face-to-face meet­ing be­tween Pres­i­dent Kiir and Dr Machar as had been di­rected by the Igad Coun­cil of Min­is­ters on May 31.

The tentative date for the meet­ing of the two lead­ers is June 17, but this is sub­ject to con­fir­ma­tion. The Su­danese Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment–in Op­po­si­tion (SPLM-IO) said they have ac­cepted the in­vi­ta­tion in prin­ci­ple, but are yet to re­ceive an of­fi­cial in­vi­ta­tion.

Su­danese Pres­i­dent Omar al-bashir had early in the week sent a del­e­ga­tion, led by For­eign Min­is­ter Al-dirdiri Mo­hamed Ahmed, to Pres­i­dent Kiir of­fer­ing Khar­toum as a venue. Pres­i­dent Kiir ac­cepted it and ap­peared to have taken the SPLM-IO by sur­prise.

SPLM-IO di­rec­tor of in­for­ma­tion and pub­lic re­la­tions Mabior de Mabior said they are com­fort­able with any venue ex­cept Juba. “The lead­er­ship of the SPLM-IO also wel­comes any rea­son­able ini­tia­tive that can re­store peace to the civil pop­u­la­tions of South Su­dan, and we wel­come the ini­tia­tive of Pres­i­dent Bashir as sup­port­ing the Igad peace process,” he said.

Ini­tially, the Igad coun­cil res­o­lu­tion had sug­gested that the heads of state hold an ex­tra­or­di­nary sum­mit to de­cide on the date and the venue of the meet­ing. But they had stated that the meet­ing should take place be­fore the next AU Sum­mit to be held on July 1 and 2 in Nouak­chott, Mau­ri­ta­nia.

Pic­ture: File

An Igad meet­ing in ses­sion. The re­gional body has called for an­other round of talks on South Su­dan.

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