South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have expressed hope for a breakthrough as they kicked off peace talks in neighbouring Sudan – but there was no sign of any real concessions by either side.
The bitter rivals met in Khartoum on Monday for a new round of discussions after a meeting last week in Ethiopia ended without a political agreement for South Sudan’s ruinous civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.
«I came to this meeting with an open mind and hope my brother Riek did the same,» Kiir said at the beginning of the talks, which were mediated by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and also attended by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
«I see the need to stop this unnecessary war and hope Dr Riek does as well.»
Kiir said disagreements continued over «division of power and security arrangements», in an apparent reference to possible rebel representation in the South Sudanese government and the «integration» of rebel and government forces.
For his part, Machar told reporters: «We came to Khartoum to look for peace», although he said his own invitation had come «late», without elaborating.
«There is a chance for peace and there is a way to achieve peace,» added Machar.
Sudan’s state-run news agency SUNA quoted Museveni as saying that the meeting resulted in «some points that enable South Sudan’s people to enjoy peace», without offering any further details.