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S. Sudan’s Machar to be sworn in on arrival next week

April 14, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has accepted to swear in the country’s first vice president designate, Riek Machar when the latter arrives in the capital, Juba on Monday in what appears a shift from a previously defiant government position.

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South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar addresses a press conference in his private residence in Addis Ababa, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Photo AP/Mulugete Ayehe)

"President Salva Kiir has agreed to swear in Riek Machar as first vice-president on Monday April 18, 2018 without further delay," the government chief negotiator, Nhial Deng Nhial told reporters shortly after a meeting attended by President Kiir and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) head, Festus Mogae.

Machar, who heads the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) is expected in the capital of the world’s youngest nation seven months after the peace accord was signed in Ethiopia.

Last week, 1, 370 SPLM-IO troops arrived in as part of the security arrangement in Juba during the 30-months period of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

Machar spokesman, James Gatdet Dak has earlier said the armed opposition leader would return early next week, only if the government agreed to swear him into office on arrival, allow him hold a public rally and declare complete demilitarisation of Juba to be confirmed by JMEC, the body overseeing the implementation of South Sudan’s peace deal.

The army says supervision by JMEC will be conducted on Tuesday, although other government sources disclosed that the process could be conducted this Saturday.