December 4, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudanese rival leaders have declined a proposal by South Africa President Jacob Zuma to bring them together. The move was an attempt to build confidence, trust and dispel personal dislike and rancour between the two leaders.
Officials close to the two leaders confirmed to Sudan Tribune separately on Sunday neither President Salva Kiir nor his main political rival, Riek Machar, had shown interest in meeting each other.
A presidential aide told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that the meeting between South Sudan president and his host was delayed and pushed to Friday because South African authorities had hoped Machar would travel from Johannesburg to Pretoria for the meeting on Thursday.
“We were expecting South African governments and the ANC leadership would arrange a special meeting between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar," said the presidential aide who is in South African with President Kiir.
"There were signs that such a meeting would take place considering that the ANC (African National Congress) played a very important role in the reunification of the SPLM through the Tanzania’ ruling party,” he added.
The official who declined to be identified said the Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth is part of the presidential delegation to play a role with Machar and South African authorities because before to split from Machar last July he came to South Africa several times with him.
“The Minister of Petroleum Ezekiel Lol went with us because of the understanding that he would play a role in the meeting of President Kiir and Riek Machar. He was one of the aides who travelled with Riek to South Africa when he was with him.
He further said that the former deputy chairman of the SPLM-In Opposition, Alfred Lado Gore is with them in Johannesburg to demonstrate the commitment of the government to implement the Arusha agreement between the factions of the SPLM to reunify the historical party.