South Sudan says rebel leader to return for another round of peace talks

Li Jiayao
2019-10-18 00:03:30

JUBA, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan's exiled rebel leader Riek Machar is expected to return to Juba for another round of peace talks with President Salva Kiir, the presidency said on Thursday.

Kiir's Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny told Xinhua that plans are underway for Sudan-based Machar to come to Juba this week for peace talks ahead of a visit by the UN Security Council scheduled for Sunday.

"We are working to have Machar in Juba to coincide with the arrival of the UN Security Council delegation to South Sudan," Ateny said by phone.

Machar, leader of Sudan People's Liberation Movement-In-Opposition (SPLM-IO) who is currently living in neighboring Sudan, would make his third trip to Juba since he fled on foot to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following renewed violence in July 2016.

Machar first held a face-to-face meeting with Kiir last month where the two agreed to resolve pending issues dragging back the pact.

But there have been renewed calls for the parties to an agreement to meet regularly in order to address issues of security arrangements and number of states and boundaries before the November 12 deadline for the formation a new transitional unity government.

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir sacked Machar leading to fighting between soldiers loyal to both leaders.

The conflict killed tens of thousands and displaced millions both internally and externally.

A peace deal signed in 2015 collapsed after the outbreak of renewed violence in July 2016 forcing Machar to flee the capital.

Under the 2018 peace deal, Machar will take up one of the four vice presidency positions in the transitional government.

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