2018/06/17 – South Sudanese warring principles, Kiir and Machar, are set to meet in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum in a few days before heading off to meet on the sideline of African Union Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
According to official reports coming out of Juba and Khartoum, Sudan has requested the mediating regional body, IGAD, to facilitate the first face-to-face meeting between President Kiir and his former deputy, Dr. Riek Machar on its behalf in what could be as early as next Sunday, June 17th, in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.
According to Sudanese officials, the first meeting between Machar and Salva Kiir could be attended by the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed .
Dr. Ahmed, who ascent to power two months ago, replaced the former Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, as the new IGAD Chairperson.
The recent change in Ethiopian leadership coupled with a change in the US Administration and Kenyan Envoy to South Sudan has revitalized the peace mediation process.
As a new US Ambassador to South Sudan arrives in Juba, Kenyan Envoy, Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, travels to South Africa to meet Machar and the South African administration, which is also under a new leadership of his excellency, Cyril Ramaphosa.
According to Kenyan media, the meeting between Hon. Odinga, Ramaphosa and Dr. Machar is expected to expedite the face-to-face meeting between Machar and Kiir.
In Juba, Kiir has reportedly pledged his commitment to meet Machar, who has also pledged his willingness to meet President Kiir.
“the SPLM/SPLA (IO) Chairman and Commander in Chief, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, is more than happy to meet with President Salva Kiir in any IGAD country, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda; or any country outside the region, including Mauritania.” Said Mabior Garang de Mabior, the SPLM/A(IO) Chairperson of National Committee for Information and Public Relations.
Although official arrangements are yet to be announced, government officials believe that Kiir and Machar will meet in Khartoum on June 17th and also meet alongside African Union summit on June 31st in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
Many Kenyan politicians support Hon. Odinga in his role to return peace to South Sudan.
“A few of us have never appreciated who Raila actually is. The value attached to him elsewhere on the continent is higher than what we imagine,” Said the National Assembly Minority leader John Mbadi.
“He enjoys popularity across the continent and this merely reconfirms that exists. Raila mediation in the 2010 Ivory Coast crisis.” Hon. Mbadi continued.
Sahel-Elite /Image: President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar greet after a peace talk in Arusha, Tanzania.(Photo credits: Muhidin Michuzi )