The President of South Sudan arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa yesterday, to take part in the South Sudan peace talks.
Since December 2013 South Sudan has been embroiled in a deadly civil war that has pitted President Salva Kiir Mayardit against his erstwhile Vice President Dr Riek Machar Teng.
Previously, Kiir had said he would not participate in the talks, arguing that a rebel split involving groups allied to Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement In Opposition (SPLM-IO) would undermine the credibility of and outcomes of the peace process. Kiir’s assertion is based on utterances made by rebel General Peter Gadet, who accused Machar of being a self-seeker, and that he would not recognize the outcome of the peace deal.
The one and a half year standoff between the two sides has attracted the attention of the international community led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), which has pushed for the brokering of a peace deal between the warring factions, with a deadline set for today, Monday, August 17.
The civil war in South Sudan has left thousands dead while many more have fled to exile in the neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, the talks today were attended by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni, Sudan president Omar Al Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Others in attendance were from the United Nations, African Union and individual countries like China, United Kingdom, Norway and the United States.