December 26, 2013 (LONDON) – The former vice-president, Riek Machar, said he was ready to initiate dialogue with the South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
- Former South Sudan vice-president Riek Machar speaks at a press conference on 26 July, announcing his intention to run for the presidency in 2015 (Photo: AP/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin)
Speaking to Sudan Tribune in undisclosed location on Thursday on phone, he revealed that he had already appointed and submitted the list of his delegation for talks to the mediators.
The delegation to be led by the former secretary general, Pagan Amum Okiech, also includes the party senior leaders who are currently in prison in Juba.
Machar earlier on called for the release of the detainees in order to the dialogue to kick off, but Kiir said he was ready for unconditional talks.
The former vice-president left Juba on 15 December when violence erupted between the presidential guards, largely fitting Dinka against Nuer ethnic groups.
Kiir described the violence as an attempted coup while Machar said it was simply a misunderstanding between the guards, which Kiir later on used to get rid of his political opponents.
Senior leaders of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) have been criticising president Kiir, who also chairs the party, for dictatorial tendencies that resisted internal reforms.
Thousands of people are feared dead in the over a week violence which also resulted to the government losing a number of key strategic states and capitals.