South Sudan’s armed opposition leader Riek Machar on Wednesday said that he would be ‘happy to meet’ with his bitter rival, President Salva Kiir.
In a statement issued by his faction, Machar said he is ready to meet Kiir for the sake of peace. However, he denied knowledge of planned talks in Khartoum.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir beginning of this week offered to host a meeting between the warring parties as regional leaders seek an end to the more than four-year civil war in the world’s youngest nation that has resisted numerous peace efforts.
Machar’s group denies Sudan proposal. His led opposition (SPLM-IO) slammed Khartoum talks as “disinformation”.
South Sudan civil war erupted late in 2013 creating one of the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally, the conflict has also left tens of thousands dead.
An IGAD broker peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders but it collapsed and renewed fighting erupted in July 2016.
President Kiir and opposition , rebel leader Machar last met in July 2016 when the violence erupted at the presidential palace, forcing Machar to flee the country.