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Kiir-Machar face to face meeting to take place in Ethiopia

Riek Machar, left, and President Salva Kiir after the first meeting of a new transitional coalition government, in Juba, South Sudan, April 29, 2016. (Photo AP)

June 18, 2018 (JUBA) - After days of competition between the IGAD countries fuelled by Juba hesitation, the face-to-face meeting between Riek Machar and Salva Kiir will be held in Addis Ababa next Wednesday.

Mrs Hirut Zemene, Ethiopian State Minister of Foreign Affairs was the first to confirm that Addis Ababa will be the venue of the crucial meeting. Also, several rebel officials including SPLM-IO deputy director of information and public relations Puok Both Baluang, confirmed that Machar will fly to Addis Ababa.

Officials in Juba, also, confirmed that finally, Juba has opted for Addis Ababa, pointing to the role recently the Ethiopian government played at the level of the UN Security Council to foil a the vote on a draft resolution imposing sanctions on South Sudanese officials.

Juba, last Friday called to hold the meeting in South Africa saying Addis Ababa, Khartoum or Nairobi have competing interests. But rebel officials said it was simply because Juba wants him to remain far from the region.

Sudan, which sought to mobilize regional support for its initiative to host the meeting, didn’t issue any statement on the rejection of the South Sudanese officials for Khartoum.

The meeting will discuss three outstanding issues on the power-sharing chapter in the 2015 peace agreement: 1-the percentage of each party in the composition of the cabinet, 2-ratios of every party in the National Legislative Assembly and the state governments.

Machar will arrive on Tuesday to Addis and will meet Ethiopian officials before to meet President Kiir on Wednesday.

The Ethiopian officials will seek to convince the two leaders to make the needed concessions for a successful meeting and to avoid its failure.

The face to face meeting will be followed by two meetings on 21 June, the first by the IGAd Council of Ministers and the second for the head of States and Governments.

(ST)