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Machar leaves Sudan for Ethiopia

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RADIO TAMAZUJ 7th, FEB-South Sudan’s exiled opposition leader Riek Machar left Sudan for Ethiopia this morning where he is expected to attend African Union meetings.

Machar, leader of the opposition group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In-Opposition (SPLM-IO), resides in Khartoum but cannot travel to the other IGAD countries without permission.

Pouk Both Baluang, the SPLM-IO’s director for information, told Radio Tamazuj that Machar has travelled to Addis Ababa where he will be attending meetings called for by the African Union High-Level Ad hoc Committee for South Sudan known as (C5).

The opposition official revealed that the meetings will discuss the pending tasks in the extended 100 days of the pre-transitional period. “The meetings on South Sudan tomorrow [Saturday] will be held under the auspices of South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa,” Pouk said, adding that Machar is scheduled to meet President Salva Kiir as part of talks to negotiate an end to outstanding issues.

“The meetings will focus on the number of states and their boundaries, security arrangements and the transitional justice,” he explained.

Machar resides in Khartoum but cannot travel to the other IGAD countries without permission.

On Thursday, talks aimed at determining the number and boundaries of states hit a deadlock after the parties rejected suggestions to have the matter go for arbitration for 90 days, which would be after the formation of the transitional government.

South African deputy president David Mabuza said he plans to consult with the African Union (AU) and IGAD countries to resolve the contentious issue of the number of states and their boundaries.

Mabuza, who has been mediating between the government and the opposition, said he will engage the African Union to find amicable ways to break the deadlock.

The international community is pressuring South Sudan’s rival leaders to resolve their differences to allow for the formation of the unity government by February 22.

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