July 1, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudanese former vice-president, turned rebel leader, Riek Machar, has travelled to South Africa for a meeting with the South African president, Jacob Zuma, his spokesman has revealed.
- South Sudan’s former VP Riek Machar addresses a press conference (Getty)
“Chairman of the SPLM and commander-in-chief of the SPLA (in opposition), Dr. Riek Machar Teny, has left Addis Ababa for South Africa on Tuesday to meet with president Jacob Zuma,” Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune Tuesday.
Dak said the armed opposition leader will brief president Zuma and his government about the genesis of the crisis in South Sudan as well as the progress made and challenges faced in the ongoing peace process to end the war.
He further said the diplomatic tour may take his boss a number of days in South Africa, adding that it was “an important opportunity by Dr. Machar to tell the story to the South African leadership about what has truly transpired in South Sudan.”
The rebel leader’s spokesman added that Machar was also accompanied by the newly appointed chairman of national committee for external relations, Dhieu Mathok Diing and his deputy, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth.
In April the rebel leader received what was described as a “red carpet” reception in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, by president Uhuru Kenyatta, who also gave green light to the opposition group to establish an office in Kenya.
The visit of the rebel leader caused nervous mood in Juba with officials disapproving of such important meetings without consulting the government first.
The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party and the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa have been actively involved in promoting the mediation efforts by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).