Juba/Addis Ababa, August 20, 2019 (SSNA) — South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, has refused to participate in Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-mediated peace talks slated to start tomorrow in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, a confidential source who has a full knowledge of the matter told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA).
The source, who is a government official explained that Kiir was invited last week by the IGAD to go to Addis Ababa to participate in peace talks designed to implement key peace provisions popularly known as security arrangements before a transitional government is formed in November 2019.
“President Kiir was invited last week by IGAD to take part in peace talks in Ethiopia. But he suddenly changed and selected a team. This delegation to Addis Ababa will be headed by information minister Micheal Makuey Lueth,” the source told the SSNA in Juba on Tuesday.
Pushed to explain why Kiir refused to be part of the negotiations.
“I don’t know. Maybe he has other things on his mind,” the source suggests.
The source also alleges that Salva Kiir is busy meeting with different groups of Sudanese rebels. The source declines to specify which group met with Kiir.
On August 14, an IGAD diplomatic source who talked to the SSNA in Addis Ababa confirmed that the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) Dr. Riek Machar, President Salva Kiir, and other main opposition leaders were invited to participate in peace talks.
It can be recalled that both Machar and Kiir were invited by IGAD in late July to have a face-to-face meeting in Addis Ababa but Kiir refused, claiming he was “very busy with other things.” The SPLM/A-IO left Ethiopia for Sudan on August 12 after insisted that he was not going to join him. Kiir was later accused of being told by the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni not to meet Machar.
The South Sudan News Agency was also told by the same source that Kiir’s recent move to not attend August 21 talks is a part of a government plan to frustrate peace negotiations.
It is not clear if Machar will attend the meeting. Attempts to his office went unanswered.