South Sudan president in Uganda for talks on regional issues: officials

The visit also comes the after the postponement of the third meeting on the reunification of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) factions. The two leaders are expected to discuss ways to break the deadlock in the negotiations.

Minister Mayiik Ayii Deng told reporters at Juba airport that the South Sudanese leader was going to discuss regional issues with his Ugandan counterpart. The issue of army worms, a destructive insect which attacked and destroyed crops, mainly maize flour in the region including some part of South Sudan was going to be one of the agendas which the two leaders would discuss.

The Presidential aide further said the head of state would use the visit to share his views with experts and the government of Uganda on how best the two countries could combine efforts to address the situation.

Other issues, he said will be an extension of appreciation to President Museveni for attending the launching and swearing in of the steering committee of the National Dialogue. President Museveni, according to minister Deng, has been very supportive of the process as the way to end the war.

President Kiir was seen off at Juba airport on departure by a line of government officials, including the Vice President James Wani Igga. He was accompanied by Minister of Defence, Kuol Manyang Juuk, Minister of Wild Conservation and SPLM Acting Secretary, Jemma Nunu Kumba and other officials.


Informed sources said the visit takes place on the request of his Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who wants to consult with President Kiir over the way forward after the SPLM-IO refusal to join the SPLM reunification process in Kampala.

The SPLM-In-Opposition group led by the former First Vice President Riek Machar declined an invitation to participate in the third SPLM reunification meeting scheduled for July 12, 2017

The absence of the main armed group forced the parties who have travelled to the venue to defer the meeting. Instead, they asked the Ugandan President who hosts the talks to conduct wider consultation with leaders of the factions to come up with views of what would constitute the agenda of the discussions.

The representatives of the faction loyal to President Kiir returned to Juba and delivered him the message in which President Museveni asked him to meet in Uganda for talks over how he could proceed with the process. The receipt of the message caused the president to travel.

In principle, the SPLM-IO says a search for a sustainable peace should be the critical priority than the reconciliation of the SPLM factions or implementation of the “collapsed agreement.”

Also, last June, the rebel leader declined an invitation for his group to attend the reunification process meeting in Uganda pointing to the need to lift his confinement in South Africa. He said he cannot come or send a delegation without prior consultations with the group leadership body.

Machar reiterated his commitment to peace and urged Ugandan government to consider supporting a new political process for peace talks to peacefully resolve the ongoing conflict in the country after the resumption of the conflict in July 2016 when he forced to flee.

Between 25 and 26 May 2017, Museveni hosted a meeting aimed at the reunification of the different factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). But the Former Political Detainees (FDs) faction of the SPLM, declined to sign a deal reached at the meeting calling for the inclusiveness of the process.

Initially the meeting excluded Machar group, which signed Arusha agreement on 21 January 2015., while the SPLM-IO of Taban Deng Gai took part in the discussion