IGAD mediators meet S. Sudan's Kiir, Machar

By Addis Getachew, Sunday, April 27, 2014

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir met late Saturday with mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir met late Saturday with mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development

ADDIS ABABA – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir met late Saturday with mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) who have been brokering talks with rebel forces loyal to his sacked vice president Riek Macahr.

"The IGAD special envoys for South Sudan urged President Kiir to commit himself to the Addis Ababa talks," a top Ethiopian official familiar with the meeting told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

He said the meeting aimed to "help a positive outcome in the [Addis Ababa] negotiations."

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 3rd Tana Forum which is currently underway in the lakeside city of Bahir Dar, 578km northwest of Addis Ababa, said the official, who requested anonymity.

South Sudan last week dropped charges against four politicians linked to the conflict, which flared up in mid-December after Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup against him.

An IGAD source, meanwhile, said that representatives from the trading bloc and the United Nations are due to meet Macahr before of the expected resumption of peace talks on Monday.

"The IGAD and U.N. representatives would urge Machar to commit himself to the talks and work towards a positive outcome in the peace negotiations," the source told AA.

"The Troika [the U.S., Britain and Norway] has been giving support for the South Sudan talks and they are pushing for the seven former officials released from detention a couple of months ago to be part of the peace process," he added.

Negotiators have arrived earlier today in Addis Ababa for another round of talks that aim to end the ongoing conflict in the world's youngest country.

In January, the two sides signed an IGAD-mediated cessation of hostilities agreement in the Ethiopian capital.

The conflict has already claimed more than 10,000 lives, with the U.N. estimating that some one million South Sudanese have already been displaced by the fighting.

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