Machar agrees to meet S. Sudan's Kiir cessation of hostilities
Saturday, May 03, 2014
ADDIS ABABA – South Sudan's sacked vice president Riek Machar has accepted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's proposal for a face-to-face meeting with South Sudan President Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa.
According to a statement issued by his spokesman in Addis Ababa, Machar told Kerry during a phone call on Friday that he would meet with Ethiopian Premier Hailemariam Desalegn before meeting Kiir.
"I will meet the Ethiopian Prime Minister first to set the agenda," the statement quoted Machar as having told Kerry.
A diplomatic source with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) told Anadolu Agency Friday that Ethiopia will arrange the face-to-face meeting within 72 hours.
Kerry had paid a brief visit to Juba on Friday to discuss the current situation in South Sudan with President Kiir.
The country has been shaken by violence since last December when Kiir accused Machar of leading a failed coup attempt against his regime.
The violence has already claimed more than 10,000 lives, with the U.N. estimating that some one million South Sudanese have been displaced.
In January, the two sides signed an IGAD-brokered cessation of hostilities agreement in Addis Ababa.
"Machar told Kerry that the government in Juba was not respecting the January 23rd ceasefire agreement," said the statement.
"That agreement should be respected and a humanitarian corridor should be opened up for relief operations," it added.
The South Sudanese government has also repeatedly accused the pro-Machar rebels of violating the IGAD-brokered deal.
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