In Summary
  • A government spokesman told AFP Sunday that Kiir and Machar would "discuss all the outstanding issues of the peace agreement and the way forward".
  • Kiir has not been seen with Machar since the pair met in the Vatican in April, when Pope Francis stunned the world by kissing the feet of two men accused of responsibility for heinous war crimes.
  • The meeting comes as a November deadline looms to form a power-sharing government, a key plank in a 2018 peace agreement that has been delayed by disputes.

JUBA,

South Sudan's exiled rebel leader Riek Machar arrived in Juba on Monday for the first time in a year to meet his rival, President Salva Kiir, and try salvage a stalled peace agreement.

Machar landed in the capital in a Sudanese plane, preceded by two jets carrying a large delegation of around 60 people and security officers from Khartoum where he is living in exile, an AFP reporter witnessed.

"President Salva Kiir Mayardit will hold a face-to-face meeting with FVP-Designate (First Vice President) Dr. Riek Machar," the government of South Sudan posted Monday on its official Twitter account.

A government spokesman told AFP Sunday that Kiir and Machar would "discuss all the outstanding issues of the peace agreement and the way forward".

Machar's visit is expected to last two days.

The meeting comes as a November deadline looms to form a power-sharing government, a key plank in a 2018 peace agreement that has been delayed by disputes.

Kiir has not been seen with Machar since the pair met in the Vatican in April, when Pope Francis stunned the world by kissing the feet of two men accused of responsibility for heinous war crimes.

MULTIPLE ATTEMPTS

South Sudan descended into war in 2013, just two years after the country gained independence, when Kiir accused his former deputy and fellow former rebel leader Machar of plotting a coup.

Multiple attempts at peace have failed but in September 2018 the warring parties signed an agreement to form a unity government, which would see Machar return to government as vice president.

The last time Machar was in Juba was October 2018, for celebrations to mark the signing of the pact.

The power-sharing arrangements under the peace deal were supposed to take effect in May. But the process was delayed by six months until November.

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