South Sudan, rebels agree on Machar's return

South Sudan and rebels say that they have reached agreement under which rebel leader Riek Machar will return to country's capital Juba

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

South Sudan's opposition leader Riek Machar during a briefing in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, April 9, 2016.

South Sudan's government and rebels announced on Wednesday that a deal had been reached to let rebel leader Riek Machar return to the capital to form a unity government, resolving differences that led to a delay this week that had worried peace monitors.

An agreement has been reached to let rebel leader Riek Machar return to the capital Juba in South Sudan on Wednesday to form a unity government, South Sudan's government and rebels said.

The spokesman for the rebel forces, James Gatdet Dalk, told Reuters over the telephone that Machar - who expected to be back in Juba on Thursday after the latest delay since peace deal in last year.

Rebel leader Riek Machar and his rival President Salva Kiir agreed in August 2015 to end a two-year conflict which caused thousands of people to be killed and more than two million people to flee their homes.

File photo shows that South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir exchange signed peace agreement documents in Addis Ababa in this May 9, 2014.

International organisations such as the United Nations and African Union have both expressed their concern after the last delay of Machar’s return who is expected to be Vice President of Kiir as part of a power sharing deal.

"I'm happy to announce to you that we as a government have accepted that Riek should come with 195 [members of his] forces accompanying him and his chief of staff," Peter Bashir Gbandi, acting foreign minister, told a news conference in Juba.

"We have given him clearance also for all the three planes that are coming with him," Gbandi added, without giving a exact time of returning.

Political crisis led to a deadly conflict in December 2013 after President Kiir fired Machar from vice presidency. The violence escalated due to ethnic differences as Kiir’s dominant Dinka ethnic group against Machar’s Nuer tribe.

The conflict, which began nearly two years after world youngest country became independent from Sudan, caused economic crisis and left 11 million people who can not get enough food.

TRTWorld and agencies