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Machar’s meeting was ordered by IGAD summit, says Sudan’s FM

October 8, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour stressed that their recent meeting with the leader of the SPLM In Opposition (SPLM-IO) Riek Machar was in implementation of a decision by the IGAD group which brokers the South Sudan peace process.

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From the left Ethiopia’s FM Workneh Gebeyehu SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar and Sudanese FM Ibrahim Ghandour pose for a picture in Johannesburg on 5 Oct 2017 (ST Photo)

In a visit to South Africa on 4 and 5 October, Ethiopian Workneh Gebeyehu who is also the Chair of the IGAD Council of Ministers and Ghandour met with Machar in South Africa to discuss ways to stop the war and hold talks within the framework of the revitalization process.

However, the SPLM-IO led by Taban Deng Gai issued a statement implicitly rejected the outcome of the meeting reiterating its commitment to the government-led national dialogue and the SPLM reunification process. The group which is part of the South Sudanese government also requested to be part of any talks with Machar.

In statements released on Sunday, Ghandour emphasised that the approach had been decided by the IGAD Council of Ministers in a meeting held last July and tasked Gebeyehu and his person to meet with Machar.

"The meeting with Machar was commissioned by the IGAD Council of Ministers and decided by the IGAD (heads of state and government) Summit held recently in Addis Ababa as part of IGAD’s efforts to revitalize the peace process in South Sudan," said in a statement to SUNA.

Further meetings will be held with some opposition leaders and the government to revive peace in the South Sudan, he added.

"Sudan and IGAD are working for the establishment of security and peace in South Sudan which is a sister country and a neighbour that we are concerned with the security of its citizens," he said.

The South Sudanese government warned that the IGAD revitalization process should not be another platform for negotiation of the peace agreement between the two factions to the conflict.

During the last week meeting, Machar welcomed the process and expressed readiness to take part.