South Sudan: Riek Machar in Juba for talks as peace deal falters

South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar (centre) greets soldiers when he arrived in the capital Juba on September 9, 2019. PHOTO | JOSEPH ADUKATA

​By: Aggrey Mutambo. 20:10.2019

South Sudan’s exiled opposition leader Riek Machar arrived in Juba on Saturday in a bid to salvage a peace deal with less than a month to go until he is to form a government with President Salva Kiir.

The foes, whose falling out in 2013 triggered a bloody civil war that has left almost 400,000 people dead and sparked a major humanitarian crisis, signed a peace deal in September last year that is meant to see them reunite once again in government.

The deadline for the formation of the revitalised Transitional government of National Unity (TGoNU) in which Machar will serve as first vice president, has already been delayed once and is now set for November 12.

However crucial technical steps contained within the agreement, such as creating a unified army and agreeing on the internal boundaries of states, have failed to make progress.

“The two will have a closed door meeting at the presidential palace today (Saturday),” a spokesman for Machar’s party the SPLM-IO, Manawa Peter Gatkuot, said after the rebel leader’s arrival.

Machar’s return to Juba, the second this year, came just as ministers from regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) met with President Kiir on Friday to urge him on to create conducive environment for opposition leaders to return.


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