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Ethiopia’s Abiy welcomes al-Bashir efforts for peace in South Sudan

June 14, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed praised the efforts of President Omer al-Bashir to bring peace in South Sudan in support of the IGAD mediation, said the Sudanese foreign ministry on Thursday.

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Sudan’s President Omer al-Bshir delivers a speech following his re-election for another five-year term, on April 27, 2015, in Khartoum (Photo AFP/Ashraf Shazly)

Abiy received the Sudanese Foreign Minister al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed who briefed him about al-Bashir’s initiative to convene a face-to-face meeting between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar

"The minister stressed that the initiative comes within the framework of supporting the role of IGAD to achieve peace and stability in South Sudan," said a statement extended to by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Garib Allah al-Khidir.

Al-Khidir said Abiy who is also the chair of the IGAD body welcomed the initiative, pointing out to the importance of joint work and coordination among the region’s leaders to achieve security and stability in South Sudan.

"The Ethiopian Prime Minister welcomed the efforts of the President of the Republic to bring together President Silva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar and affirmed his support for all efforts that could achieve (peace in South Sudan)," said the statement.

On Wednesday the SPLM-IO led by Riek Machar said its leader received an invitation from the Ethiopian premier to meet President Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa on 20 June.

The Sudanese foreign minister will meet the Kenyan president Friday morning to brief him about the Sudanese initiative. Also, he will hold a similar meeting with Ugandan president on Friday evening.

The regional tour of the Sudanese top diplomat is seen as an indication that al-Bashir intends to be more involved in the resolution of the South Sudanese conflict after being reticent during the past four years.

In a meeting on 31 May, the IGAD Council of Ministers decided to convene a meeting before the first July between the two South Sudanese leaders in a bid to narrow the gaps between them on the governance and security arrangements.

The two rival leaders will meet with the IGAD leaders on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania on 1 and 2 July.