South Sudan president holds ‘frank deliberations’ with vice president
JUBA (Reuters) -South Sudan President Salva Kiir held “frank deliberations” with opposition leader First Vice President Riek Machar on Friday, the minister of presidential affairs said, a week after Kiir breached a peace agreement by sacking two top security ministers.
The meeting was held in a collegial spirit, but ended in deadlock, Machar’s office said in a statement.
Kiir fired defence minister Angelina Teny, who is also Machar’s wife, and interior minister Mahmoud Solomon last Friday, moves that threaten to unravel a fragile peace agreement that ended the 2013-18 civil war.
The president also handed the defence ministry to his party, a role which, under the agreement, Machar’s party is meant to appoint.
South Sudan gained independence in 2011, but two years later was plunged into a civil war between forces loyal to Kiir and Machar that killed 400,000 people.
Despite the 2018 peace deal, bouts of fighting have continued to kill and displace large numbers of civilians. The implementation of the deal has been slow, and the two men have clashed frequently over how to share power.
“The leaders had frank deliberations in a friendly atmosphere that reflected the spirit of reconciliation, prosperity and commitment to the peace agreement,” presidential affairs minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said in a statement.
“The two principals agreed in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation to convene another meeting at a later date to find amicable solutions on these issues,” Marial said.
(Reporting by Waakhe Wudu; writing by Hereward Holland; Editing by Josie Kao and Grant McCool)