South Sudanese Leaders Begin Direct Talks

President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar began face-to-face talks in Addis Ababa on Tuesday afternoon (March 3). Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who met the two leaders separately earlier, told them to expeditiously address the outstanding issues and take the tough decisions for a final peace settlement. He said they must make “compromises and alternatives rather than only reiterating old positions.” “Very little time remains,” said the Prime Minister who is also chair of IGAD.

He noted the resolution being considered by the UN Security Council which he said was “a sign of the frustration that the international community feels in relation to the parties in South Sudan, and their continued intransigence in resolving the crises.”

IGAD Chief mediator, Seyoum Mesfin, also urged the parties to in no time accelerate the final peace deal, and he appealed on IGAD leaders, the UN, African Union and the international community at large to join the IGAD calls and exert pressure on the warring parties. IGAD has given the two sides until Thursday, 5 March, to reach a comprehensive peace agreement to end the conflict. The two principals held closed door meetings on Tuesday evening to discuss the structure of the transitional government, power sharing ratios, the composition of the national legislature and transitional security arrangements.

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