April 1, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudan rebel leader, Riek Machar met the head of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, Festus Mogae in Pretoria, South Africa, where the two discussed President Salva Kiir’s calls for a unilateral ceasefire and a national dialogue.
- Botswana’s former president Festus Mogae (Photo File AFP)
The meeting held on 31 March, officials said, mainly focused on ways of finding meaningful solutions to the conflict in war-hit South Sudan.
Machar’s press secretary, Lam Kuei Lam confirmed the Pretoria meeting, saying it was part of finding a solution to South Sudan’s war.
“On item one, the chairman did inform President Mogae that indeed SPLM/SPLA-IO is not a war mongering but act on self-defense. On the second and three, the chairman called for initiation of a political forum for the parties to engage on the peaceful settlement of the conflict, resuscitate and review the ARCISS [Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan],” said Lam.
He added, “On ceasefire, once the forum is initiated a cessation of hostilities would be negotiated by the parties”.
Machar, Lam said, criticized the chairman of South Sudan’s peace monitoring body for failing to implement the peace as agreed upon.
Among the other issues cited as “failures” of the peace monitoring body is the continued displacement of thousands of South Sudanese to neighbouring nations and the famine that has hit the country.
This is the first meeting Mogae initiated with the South Sudanese rebel leader when the latter fled after the July 2016 clashes in the capital, Juba.