South Sudan’s opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar on Monday landed in the capital Juba for face-to-face talks with President Salva Kiir as part of the efforts to salvage the stalled peace agreement.
Machar who landed in the capital aboard a Sudanese plane was also accompanied by the deputy head of the Sovereign Council, Gen.Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo but earlier a delegation of over 60 people and security personnel had also arrived in Juba.
Machar later met with President Kiir and speaking about the meeting, the latter said this was another step toward pacification of South Sudan.
“Citizens never fought hence peace is a responsibility of the leaders. As a leader I request my fellow comrades to join hands with me as peace partners and bring everlasting peace to our beloved country just to end the suffering of our own citizens once and for all,” Kiir said.
Fighting broke out in December 2013, only two years after gaining independence when forces, loyal to President, Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar clashed, sparking unrest.
An estimated three million South Sudanese have reportedly fled the country while thousands more have lost their lives, plunging the country into chaos and economic ruin.
In the past, attempts to reconcile Kiir and Machar yielded little benefit as ceasefire pacts have been repeatedly violated by forces of two factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
In November 2018 the warring parties signed an agreement to form a unity government, which would see Machar return to government as vice president and the same was supposed to have been implemented by May this year before elections in 30 months the period was extended by another six months until November 12.
However, among key among the issues discussed during the peace agreement was the formation of the national army where both the South Sudan armed forces and rebels were supposed to report to military camps but the same has never been effected.
The creation of cantonment sites, where troops and rebels are to be screened, trained and integrated into a single force has also not been effected.
President Salva Kiir recently met with Uganda’s President Museveni for a way forward on the implementation of the peace agreement.