Machar accepts invitation to attend Vatican meeting with Kiir

President Kiir, SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar and FDs leader Pagan Amum (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

April 5th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s First Vice-President designate, Dr. Riek Machar Teny has accepted the invitation to meet President Salva Kiir in the Vatican next week,  a aide to the prominent opposition leader has confirmed.

Last month, South Sudan government announced that President Salva Kiir will return to the Vatican during the second week of the month and will be accompanied by opposition leaders including Machar.

Speaking to the Nyamilepedia on Friday, the SPLM-IO Director of National Committee for Information and Public Relations, Puok Both Baluang, said Machar has accepted the invitation.

“We would like to confirm to the public at large and members of the movement in particular that the Chairman and Commander-in-chief Dr. Riek Machar has received and accepted the invitation to a confidence building meeting with President Salva Kiir in the Vatican,” he said.

The opposition official however said it is not yet confirmed if Machar would be allowed by the IGAD to attend the Vatican meeting over what he said was an ‘unlawful’ detention imposed by the regional body.

“It is not confirmed yet if he would make it to the Vatican over the unlawful house arrest he has been in since 2016 in South Africa because now, based on our understanding, he was just transferred from the confinement in South Africa to Khartoum,” Puok said.

He urged the regional bloc to release Machar so he is allowed to meet President Kiir in the Vatican and in line with the agreement which calls for the release of all political detainees.

“We therefore urge the IGAD to release the Chairman to attend that meeting and to carry out the dissemination of the agreement signed last September because the agreement said that all the political detainees shall be released,” he said.

The opposition official further said Machar would not go to Juba in order to leave for the Vatican but will leave from Khartoum and will meet Kiir there.

“If he is allowed to travel to the Vatican by the IGAD, he will not go through Juba but will leave from Khartoum and meet President Kiir in the Vatican,” he said.