August 14th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit turned down regional initiatives for a face-to-face meeting with opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar in Addis Ababa, a SPLM-IO official said on Wednesday.
In late July, prominent opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny traveled to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa upon an invitation by a UN diplomat to discuss sexual violence in South Sudan.
Following his arrival in Ethiopia, regional leaders have been pushing for a face-to-face meeting between Kiir and Machar as part of efforts by the region to construct confidence between the peace partners.
Speaking to Nyamilepedia on Wednesday, SPLM-IO director of information and public relations, Puok Both Baluang said Machar had to return to Khartoum without meeting Kiir because the later turned down regional initiatives aimed at building confidence between the two men.
“There were initiatives by the region for the face-to-face meeting to be conducted in Addis Ababa but President Kiir declined,” Baluang said.
Baluang said government initiative which called for a face-to-face meeting between Kiir and Machar in Juba could not also be successful because of restrictions on Machar’s freedom of movement.
“The initiative started from Juba when Hon. Tut Gatluak sent Dr. Machar an invitation to attend a face to face meeting with President Kiir in Juba. However, this initiative didn’t see the light mainly because the unjust restrictions imposed upon Dr. Riek Machar was not lifted by the IGAD,” Baluang said.
He further downplayed government narrative that all opposition leaders are in Juba and nothing could prevent Machar from coming to Juba saying president Salva Kiir lacks the commitment to peace.
“According to the government they justified president Kiir refusal to meet Dr. Machar in Addis Ababa because the head of signatories group to R-ARCSS are in Juba. But in the reality it’s president Kiir lacks the accurate will to implement the Agreement,” he said.