(ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar Wednesday have finally met on Wednesday in a meeting attended by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The meeting was announced in a twit released by the Director of Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office Fitsum Arega without details about the outcome of the encounter.
“HE PM Abiy Ahmed hosted a private dinner to President Salva Kiir and Dr Rieck Machar together. The two met for the first time in two years,” said Arega.
“Faced with the continued suffering in South Sudan, Ethiopia simply can’t stand by. With more work, a peaceful future is possible in S. Sudan,” he further said.
Different sources reached in Addis Ababa said the face-to-face meeting only gathered the two rival leaders and the Ethiopian premier.
The first meeting between Kiir and Machar since July 2016, was supposed to discuss only the outstanding issues in the power-sharing chapter of the peace agreement.
South Sudanese officials under the cover of anonymity told media houses that the meeting was not successful and the two leaders didn’t agree on anything.
“If the meeting was positive, at least, Abiy would be happy to issue a statement about its outcome, but this was not the case,” an official said.
Machar, in a meeting with the civil society and opposition groups, pledged to defend their points of view in the meeting.
The IGAD Council of Ministers will discuss the outcome of the intensive consultations and then will submit its conclusions for considerations to the summit of IGAD head of states and government in the evening.
President Kiir is scheduled to return to Juba on Friday but it is not clear if another meeting will take place between him and Machar.
Upon his arrival to Addis Ababa, Kiir held a separate meeting with Abiy. President Kiir was accompanied by Minister of Cabinet affairs Martin Elia Lomuro, Ambassador Ezekiel Lul the Minister of Petroleum, Michael Makuei Lueth the Minister of Information and Awud Deng Achuil the Minister of Gender, and Social Welfare.
The meeting with Kiir, which began at 08:00 pm (local time), discussed the outcome of the Intensive Interlink Consultations and ways to move forward, according to a statement released by the information ministry.
First Published by ST