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AU urges unreserved participation of Machar in peace talks

April 15, 2018 (JUBA) - The chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mousa Faaki Mohamed has called for the unreserved participation of South Sudan rebel leader, Riek Machar in the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) initiated by the regional bloc (IGAD).

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South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar and the AU Commission chairperson Mousa Faki Mohamed in Pretoria, South African, April 12, 2018 (ST photo)

“The chairperson of the commission took advantage of his visit to meet with Dr. Riek Machar, the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM/IO). He underlined the imperative for all South Sudanese stakeholders to muster the required political courage and commitment to end the conflict unfolding in their country, and strongly called on Dr. Machar to fully play his part and cooperate unreservedly with the IGAD-led efforts within the Revitalization Forum,” the AU said in a statement issued on Saturday.

It added, “Dr. Machar pledged to do all he can to facilitate the search for peace, and said he was looking forward to the resumption of the Revitalization Forum under the IGAD auspices”.

The South Sudanese rebel leader and the African Union chairperson met in Pretoria, South Africa on Thursday to discuss the ongoing peace process in the war-hit nation.

The two leaders reportedly discussed the high-level revitalization forum, challenges facing the process and the role of other peace partners, like AU and the five African countries forming the IGAD-Plus.

The IGAD-Plus nations (Algeria, Chad, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa) were added into the mediation process to strengthen Africa’s support to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and assist South Sudanese parties and stakeholders to achieve durable peace.

The armed opposition leader reportedly expressed commitment of his group to participate in the revitalization talks without reservation.

The AU statement did not, however, made no mention about Machar’s detention in South Africa and the recent decision by the regional leaders to relocate him to a country outside the region.

South Sudan has been mired in conflict between the government of President Salva Kiir and rebels led by Machar, the country’s former first vice-president since December 2013. The conflict has killed tens of thousands and displaced almost over 2 million people from their homes, including over a million refugees who have fled into neighbouring nations.

(ST)