The regional body in charge of the South Sudan peace talks has called for another round of talks in Addis Ababa from June 16 to 18, as Khartoum offers to host talks between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Dr Riek Machar.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) Special Envoy to South Sudan, Ismail Wais, wrote to stakeholders asking them to resume the talks, which adjourned on May 23 with little progress.

The next meeting will identify possible compromises and build consensus on outstanding areas such as power sharing and security arrangements.

This comes as Sudan offered to host a proposed face-to-face meeting between President Kiir and Dr Machar as had been directed by the Igad Council of Ministers on May 31.

The tentative date for the meeting of the two leaders is June 17, but this is subject to confirmation.

The Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement–In Opposition (SPLM-IO) said they have accepted the invitation in principle, but are yet to receive an official invitation.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had early in the week sent a delegation, led by Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed, to President Kiir offering Khartoum as a venue. President Kiir accepted it and appeared to have taken the SPLM-IO by surprise.

SPLM-IO director of information and public relations Mabior de Mabior said they are comfortable with any venue except Juba.

“The leadership of the SPLM-IO also welcomes any reasonable initiative that can restore peace to the civil populations of South Sudan, and we welcome the initiative of President Bashir as supporting the Igad peace process,” he said.

Initially, the Igad Council resolution had suggested that the heads of state hold an extraordinary summit to decide on the date and the venue of the meeting.

But they had stated that the meeting should take place before the next AU Summit to be held on July 1 and 2 in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

First published by the East African

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