December 22 (JUBA) - South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardit met with one of his main political opponents, Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, on Sunday but the two failed to strike a deal to defuse the ongoing security situation.
- Rebecca Nyandeng, addressing the gathering at Panyagoor, 9 July 2012 (ST)
President Kiir has stated his commitment to engage in unconditional dialogue to end the crisis but is yet to hold talks with his former deputy Riek Machar who is leading a rebellion against the government.
Machar, says Kiir wrongly accused him over conspiring with Nyandeng and others to stage a coup on 15 December following months of tension within South Sudan’s ruling party, with many disenfranchised senior member describing Kiir and increasingly dictatorial.
Since fighting erupted between members of the Presidential Guard a week ago the violence has spread from the capital, Juba, where some 500 people are believed to have been killed to other parts of the country.
There have been no official statements from the meeting but sources close to them told Sudan Tribune that it remains that Nyandeng demanded the release of political detainees. Senior members of the ruling SPLM have been arrested, accused of plotting the alleged failed coup.
Nyandeng is also believed to have called for the identification of those alleged to have targeted and attacked people on the basis of their tribe during the first few days of the conflict. She also called a comprehensive process to bring the sides together, Sudan Tribune understands.
Riek Machar, who Kiir accused of leading the coup against him is now in open rebellion coordinating with splinter groups from the South Sudanese army (SPLA), who have taken control of parts of Jonglei and Unity state.
President Kiir, sources say, refused Nyandeng’s demands at the meeting which was also attended by the governor of Central Equatoria state, Clement Wani Konga.
Presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that Kiir and Nyandeng had met in a "a closed door meeting", refusing to give any further details.
In statement to journalists shortly after the meeting, Nyandeng, did not disclose what was discussed, saying it was the “beginning of dialogue” without elaborating.
The UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and other international leaders, have demanded that South Sudan’s political and military leaders immediately end all hostilities and stop targeted attacks against civilians.
“I call on President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and opposition political leaders, including former Vice President Riek Machar, to come to the table to find a political way out of this crisis," he said.
East African regional block IGAD has sent a delegation of ministers and senior officials to try and help the two sides find a negotiated solution. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has been asked by the US to lead international efforts to resolve the conlfict before it escalates further.
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