Ethiopia has stated that former South Sudan first vice president Riek Machar is only welcome to the country on a temporary basis because the Horn of Africa country will not entertain anyone leading an armed struggle.
Responding to a question by the US-based Foreign Policy, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalgen said: “We do not need someone who is leading an armed struggle in Ethiopia.”
According to Desalgen, Machar, who is now in Sudan but lived in Ethiopia for significant stretches of the civil war, will be allowed to pass through Ethiopia in his travels but is not welcome to stay again long-term.
Last year, Ethiopia hosted the crucial talks that were supposed to end the brutal civil war in neighbouring South Sudan, and the peace deal to unite incumbent president Salva Kiir and Dr Machar was signed in Addis Ababa last August.
Machar took eight months to return to the South Sudan capital Juba after the talks. Following renewed fighting between his forces and those loyal to his rival, President Salva Kiir, he fled Juba in July.
Machar also alleged an assassination attempt on his life, he went to the Democratic Republic of Congo, but is now in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.
Kiir replaced Machar as first vice president with the then Minister of Mines, Gen Taban Deng Gai, a move that Machar’s side said threatened the peace deal.