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The much expected IGAD meeting held in Addis Ababa to broker a peace deal between Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his bitter rival, Riek Machar concluded without an agreement other than scheduling another talk in Khartoum.
In statements ahead of the meeting held by the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) rebel group, led by Riek Machar, called the current peace efforts “unrealistic” and warned that South Sudan government forces were planning an attack on their troops in the country’s south.
“For any meaningful dialogue to take place, it should be within the context of a comprehensive political settlement, so that the guns can fall silent and a conducive environment for dialogue established,” SPLM-IO said.
On the other hand Martin Elia, acting foreign minister said Riek Machar shouldn’t wait for an election if he wants to be president.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who is the Chair Person of IGAD warned the two sides to reach agreement and to restore peace in their country.
“How many agreement has been made so far ? Yet, still no concerted action has been made. If the responsible parties in the countries are not willing to stop the suffering of their own citizens we will take action to make peace which is our moral duty to help the people of South Sudan.”
The last meeting between Kiir and Machar immediately preceded the outbreak of deadly fighting in the South Sudanese capital Juba in July 2016.
Defeated, Machar fled into exile in South Africa where he was placed under de-facto house arrest.
At the same time, Sudan announced that the two men would meet in three days for new talks in its capital, Khartoum. South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei confirmed the meeting.
South Sudan’s conflict started as a power struggle between the country’s political leaders before slipping into a broader feud between the two biggest ethnic groups, the Nuer and the Dinka.
More than a million people have fled their homes in South Sudan since fighting broke out in December between government and rebel forces. President Salva Kiir says it was a coup attempt, blaming soldiers loyal to former Vice-President Riek Machar for the trouble, but Mr. Machar denies this.