South Sudan opposition leader makes return visit to capital

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar returned on Monday to meet with President Salva Kiir and held talks in preparation for the formation of a coalition government in November.

The two men shook hands and said goodnight after an afternoon of discussions at State House, the President’s official residence, in their first face-to-face meeting in the capital, Juba, since October. The talks focussed on speeding up the screening and reunification of forces in order to create a united national army ahead of Machar’s expected return in two months, where he’ll once again serve as Kiir’s deputy.

South Sudan is slowly emerging from five years of civil war that killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions. A fragile peace deal was signed last September, but so far it’s been marked by delays and continued fighting in parts of the country.

Machar’s trip to Juba is seen by some South Sudan observers as a last attempt to move the agreement forward.

Dr Riek Machar greets Sudanese military officer and politicians upon arriving in Juba for face to face talks with South Sudan President Salva Kiir. PHOTO: AP