The National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) are to cooperate on the consolidation of peace in the region.

‘Besides discussing the implementation of the peace agreement, the two leaders also “opened a new chapter of relationship” between their respective movements or parties, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), which is the ruling party in Uganda, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), which spearheads democratic and institutional reforms in South Sudan,’ media sources quoted Machar’s official spokesman James Gatdet Dak, as saying.

Efforts to get a comment from the NRM spokesperson were futile by press time.

However, the development follows a two-day visit to Uganda by the SPLM-IO leader Dr Riek Machar Teny, who held talks on several issues affecting South Sudan and the region with President Yoweri Museveni at the State Lodge in Masindi on Monday night.

A press release yesterday by the SPLM-IO leader Dr Machar, issued on arrival in Addis Ababa, indicated that an agreement was reached to work together by starting a new page in relations between the two sides.

‘The two leaders discussed Uganda’s role in the implementation of the peace agreement which Machar signed in August last year with President Salva Kiir and other parties. They also discussed regional peace and security,’ the release adds.

The two sides have also agreed on consolidation of peace in the region through the implementation of Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS).

The issues discussed, according to the press release, include the controversial 28 states and how it is in violation of the ARCISS, and how it has impeded the formation of transitional government of national unity.

The other issues Machar mentioned are the lifting of the state of emergency which he said is restricting the movement of the opposition’s advance team and the implementation of provisions in the ARCISS regarding Sudanese rebels.

Machar’s visit is the first since violence broke out in South Sudan, prompting Uganda to send troops to reinforce Salva Kiir’s army against an onslaught by the SPLM-IO rebels.

The meeting between Machar and Museveni came only days after the two SPLM warring factions failed to form a transitional government by theFriday dateline set by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC).