Machar returns to Khartoum one week following Vatican retreat

Machar as he arrives at Juba International Airport on October 31st 2018 for peace celebration (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

April 17th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, has returned to the Sudanese capital Khartoum after a one-week visit to Italy, a spokesman for Machar has confirmed in a statement.

Machar – the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) and the First Vice President – last week traveled to the Vatican upon an invitation by Pope Francis to attend a ‘spiritual retreat’ in which he met President Salva Kiir.

The Italy meeting brought together three SPLM rival political leaders, Kiir, Machar and Rebecca Garang, for the purpose of confidence-building.

 “The SPLM/A (IO) wishes to inform members and the general public that the Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/A (IO), H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon and his accompanying delegation have arrived safely in Khartoum, Sudan this morning at about 3:00 am, after attending the spiritual retreat hosted by His Holiness Pope Francis in Vatican, Rome,” said a statement issued by the Director of Information and Public Relations, Puok Both Baluang.

“In this connection, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon wishes to express his profound gratitude and appreciation to the Holy See for inviting the leaders of South Sudan to attend the spiritual retreat aimed at confidence-building and pushing forward the peace process in South Sudan,” the statement added.

The opposition official further said Machar expressed his optimism for the success of the peace implementation after what he said is a significant experience was gained from the Vatican meeting.

“Moreover, he would like to stress to members, the people of South Sudan and the public at large that the significant experience gained from the spiritual retreat, has provided a powerful impetus for the leaders of South Sudan who were present at the retreat, to implement the Revitalized Peace Agreement (R-ARCSS) in letter and spirit,” the statement added.

Accompanying Machar was a ten-member delegation including his deputy, Hendry Odwar and his wife, Angelina Teny.