August 10, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — The South Sudan’s former vice president and the Commander in Chief of SPLA forces in opposition, Dr Riek Machar Teny, has been cordially received in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
Sources from Khartoum confirm that Machar was “received upon his arrival by president Omar Hassan el Bashir”, on Sunday. According to James Gatdet Dak, his spokesperson, the IGAD-facilitated visit is within the IGAD’s mechanisms to promote peaceful resolution to the current conflict.
“SPLM chairman Dr. Riek Machar Teny has arrived in Khartoum this morning. The IGAD-facilitated visit is in the interests of the peace process to end the crisis in South Sudan,” Dak said.
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Machar, who has held successful meetings with three presidents of IGAD members’ states in East, South and North Africa has discussed issues related to conflict, foreign forces such as UPDF and Sudanese rebel forces with president Omar el Bashir.
Machar has also addressed bilateral relations and cooperation between the two sister states. According to Ali Karti, the Sudanese foreign minister, Machar’s visit is within IGAD framework. Machar is expected to tour other IGAD members states.
The opposition leader will meet with other government officials and also with the South Sudanese populations in the capital, Khartoum.
The visit, which came at last, has been sharply opposed and criticized by the South Sudan’s government. Government officials from Juba claim that Machar’s visit would stain the bilateral relations between Juba and Khartoum, unless coordinated through Juba’s foreign affair.
Kiir’s government has been curious that, because of successful agreements between Machar and Bashir’s government in the past, similar meetings may have consequences on Juba.
Past agreements, facilitated by the IGAD, led to signing of Khartoum Peace Agreement and subsequently to Sudanese constitution amendment that recognizes succession of the South. South Sudan finally break away in 2011 after referendum.
In other reports, four factions of Sudan’s rebels, allied with South Sudan government, have fiercely fought Machar’s forces in many parts of Greater Upper Nile since December. The two government have traded accusations over the rebels’ support and violations of cooperate agreements, however, Sudan denies any interest to take part in the South’s conflict.
“Sudan has no interest in the continuation of the war in the South (Sudan) and it does not support one party against the other,” Karti said adding that “our interest [is] that both sides sign a peace agreement, and we hope it would be soon.”
Machar has urged the Khartoum’s government in the past to shut down pipelines that transport South Sudan’s oil or creates an independent account to manage South Sudan’s oil revenues. On the other hand, Juba calls on Khartoum to provide military support to defend oil installations, however, Bashir’s government has downplayed both sides.
Meetings between Dr. Machar and Khartoum’s government have been postponed a few times. Bashir, who was not invited to Washington, was expected to meet Machar on Monday, however, the meeting was canceled due to logistical arrangements by the IGAD Authority.