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EU hails face-to-face meeting of S. Sudan’s rival leaders

September 14, 2019 (JUBA) - The European Union (EU) has hailed the just-concluded face-to-face meeting between South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) leader, Riek Machar, describing it as a step in the right direction.

South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar (L) speaks to reporters after meeting President Salva Kiir in Juba, September 11, 2019 (JUBA)

On Wednesday, the two rival leaders concluded their meeting by agreeing on a number of issues that are seen as very significant in the ongoing implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.

The EU, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, said trust between the political leaders is of essence and urged them to continue meeting regularly to resolutely take the peace process forward.

“While it is positive that the ceasefire continues to hold between the signatories to the agreement, two months before the end of the extended pre-transitional period, the pace and the quality of implementation needs to urgently increase. This includes crucial tasks such as security arrangements and the number of states and their boundaries, in order to facilitate the formation of the transitional government in November,” partly reads the EU’s statement.

“We expect all parties to work in a spirit of goodwill and compromise, reflecting the constructive atmosphere of the talks between the leaders this week,” it added.

Meanwhile, EU vowed to continue supporting the process of peace for the benefit of all South Sudanese people in close coordination with the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, the African Union, the United Nations and the wider international community.

South Sudan descended into war in mid-December 2013 when Kiir accused his former deputy-turned rebel leader accused of plotting a coup.

In September 2018, the rival factions involved in the conflict signed a peace deal to end the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 2 million people in the country.

The power-sharing arrangements under the deal were supposed to take effect in May, but the process was delayed by six months until November as both sides disagreed on security arrangements.