July 13, 2014 (DJIBOUTI) – South Sudanese former vice-president, turned leader of the SPLM-In-Opoosition, Riek Machar, on Sunday met the Djiboutian president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, at the State Palace in Djibouti, in which the two leaders discussed a “wide-range” of issues, said the rebel leader’s spokesman.
- South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar, Riek Machar meets president of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh, at the State Palace, Djibouti, July 13, 2014 (ST)
His spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, said Machar was warmly received and met president of Djibouti on Sunday.
“Chairman of SPLM and Commander-in-Chief of SPLA [in opposition], Dr. Riek Machar Teny, and the Djiboutian president, HE Ismail Omar Guelleh, today met at the State Palace in Djibouti. The two leaders discussed a wide-range of issues on progress made and challenges faced in the ongoing IGAD-mediated peace process in Addis Ababa,” Dak told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
He said the visiting leader briefed the president of Djibouti, an IGAD member country, on the situation in South Sudan and the need to support the peace process.
The rebel spokesperson added that the two leaders also emphasized on the importance of ending the war and promoting economic ties between the two countries.
“The meeting also emphasized on the importance of reaching a political solution to the crisis in South Sudan so that the two countries can promote economic ties in a peaceful environment,” Dak added.
He said South Sudan has a plan to build a pipeline to Djibouti via Ethiopia and use its river port for exports of the crude oil from Upper Nile state, among others.
Dak further added that the landlocked South Sudan had huge oil reserves and therefore plans to build additional pipelines to Kenya and Djibouti, in addition to one through port Sudan, and use their river ports and facilities for exports of crude oil as well as other imports and exports.
“South Sudan sits on promising huge oil reserves,” he said, adding that the need for “additional pipelines is further dictated by geographical locations of such oil deposits in the country.”
The interaction with the leadership in the state of Djibouti was fruitful, he said.
He further revealed that the host country’s leadership provided his boss with the opportunity to tour the Djibouti river port and its facilities including acquainting himself with the telecommunications and fiber optic systems in the country.
The visit to the regional country is the fourth of its kind by the rebel leader since the crisis erupted on 15 December, pitting his armed movement against president Salva Kiir’s led government.
In the diplomatic offensive, Machar last month visited Kenya and South Africa where he also met president Uhuru Kenyatta and president Jacob Zuma, respectively, which the rebel group described as “successful and fruitful” interactions.