Monday, 6 January 2014

Omar al-Bashir, Salva Kiir to meet in Juba over South Sudan crisis

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (R) with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir (L) at Khartoum airport on September 3, 2013. PHOTO | ASHRAF SHAZLY | FILE
 Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (R) with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir (L) at Khartoum airport on September 3, 2013.


Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir will travel to Juba on Monday to meet with his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir for talks on the ongoing conflict in the country, state media reported on Sunday.
“President Bashir will go tomorrow to Juba to meet (President) Salva Kiir and discuss the crisis in the South,” an SMS sent by state radio to the media said.
Sudan's First Vice President Bakri Hassan Salih has affirmed his country's full support of mediation efforts by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development seeking an end to the fighting in South Sudan.
“We discussed the coordination between Sudan, China and Igad member states to bring peace and stability in the Republic of South Sudan,” Mr Salih said in a joint statement with the Special Representative of the Chinese government for African affairs Zhong Jianhua released on Sunday.
“Sudan is ready to boost the Igad initiative and support the continuity of the political efforts to find a peaceful solution to the dispute in South Sudan,” he added.
Mr Zhong said in a statement following the meeting with Mr Salih in Khartoum that China supports Igad's efforts to negotiate a ceasefire.
“Sudan and China share identical views towards supporting the Igad efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the dispute in South Sudan,” he said.
RISK OF CIVIL WAR
Face-to-face peace talks between South Sudan's warring factions were due to begin in earnest Sunday, with artillery fire in Juba's government district underlining the risk of a slide into all-out civil war.
The talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa are aimed at ending three weeks of fighting that are feared to have killed thousands in the world's newest nation. 
The conflict erupted on December 15, pitting army units loyal to President Kiir against a loose alliance of ethnic militia and mutinous army commanders nominally headed by his rival, former vice president Riek Machar.
Aid workers have stepped up warnings of a worsening crisis for civilians affected by the conflict in the landlocked country of almost 11 million people.