JUBA (AFP) – Warring South Sudanese factions are meeting Monday in Tanzania in the latest bid to end a 10-month civil war in which thousands have been killed, a presidential aide said.
Peace talks to find a lasting solution to the conflict that broke out on December 15 between factions loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former vice-president Riek Machar have been repeatedly interrupted.
But delegations have “had successful meetings so far”, Awan Riak, Minister in the Office of the President told reporters, as Kiir flew Monday to Arusha to take part in talks.
Kiir hopes to meet face-to-face with Machar, Riak said, without giving further details or a time frame.
It would be the first time the rivals meet since signing a ceasefire in August in Ethiopia, which like three previous agreements swiftly collapsed.
The talks in Tanzania, in the northern tourist town of Arusha, follow an invitation from President Jakaya Kikwete.
“We are hopeful that something will come out from Arusha,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Mawien Makol said.
Political and military leaders have repeatedly broken promises made under intense international pressure, including visits to South Sudan by UN chief Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Thousands of people have been killed and almost two million have fled fighting between government troops, mutinous soldiers and ragtag militia forces divided along tribal lines.
Almost 100,000 people are sheltering in squalid UN peacekeeping bases fearing they will be killed if they leave.
Earlier this month, a group of 19 major aid agencies warned that while massive food drops had helped avert famine for now, the threat remained, and the risk grew greater the longer the war continues and the weaker the people suffering become.