July 3, 2014 (PRETORIA) – South Sudanese former vice-president, turned rebel leader, Riek Machar, has met the South African president Jacob Zuma at the State House in Pretoria, rebel leader’s spokesman has announced.
- Rebel leader Riek Machar shakes hands with South African president Jacob Zuma at the State House, Pretoria, South Africa, July 2, 2014 (ST)
The two leaders had a lengthy cordial meeting on Wednesday evening, Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, said.
“Comrade Dr. Riek Machar Teny, chairman and commander-in-chief of SPLM/SPLA (in opposition) and His Excellency Jacob Zuma, president of the Republic of South Africa, held a lengthy cordial meeting on Wednesday evening,” Dak told Sudan Tribune.
He said the armed opposition leader was warmly welcomed at the State House by the South African leadership.
“The meeting discussed a wide-range of issues pertaining to the ongoing peace process in Addis Ababa,” he said, without giving further details, adding that Machar also briefed the South African leadership about the genesis of the crisis which started in the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The former vice-president, he said, visited South Africa on the invitation by the host government.
Dak said the opposition leader was picked at the Addis Ababa international airport on Tuesday by a special jet and was accompanied on board by the South African ambassador to Ethiopia.
The rebel leader has been on diplomatic offensive to undo what he said was president Salva Kiir’s false story of attempted 15 December coup which he propagated in the region, although only Uganda, which recently backed down from the allegation, used to support the claim.
The rebel SPLM faction has been calling for president Kiir to step down, saying he is no longer legitimate, accusing him of alleged starting the war and administering the ethnic based massacre of tens of thousands of citizens who elected him into office.
The visit by the opposition top leader is the third leg in the region after “successful” tours to Ethiopia and Kenya.