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JUBA - 11 Sep 2019

Kiir and Machar: We have made progress in talks

President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar said they made "significant progress" in talks aimed at ironing out issues related to critical tasks.

In a brief statement after today’s meeting, Kiir and Machar did not give details but said the unprecedented talks in Juba were "productive".

President Salva Kiir said progress had been made in the talks. “Rest assured that things are going on well,” he said.

For his part, opposition leader Riek Machar said their talks made important progress, and the two sides had candid and constructive discussions.

“We have made important progress. There shall be frequent meetings, particularly after the IGAD summit,” Machar said.

Meanwhile, the deputy chairman of Mr. Machar’s group, Henry Odwar said the second face-to-face meeting discussed constitutional amendments and security laws.

Odwar added that the two leaders also discussed the issue of non-signatories, pointing that they emphasized the need to continue engaging the holdout opposition groups in order to join the peace process.

“This peace without them may have difficulties, and that’s why we have to move as one people,” he explained.

The top opposition official disclosed that the two principles agreed to set up a committee to resolve the issue of states and boundaries.

“The two principles agreed to have a committee, so the committee will look into the IBC report. If we don’t reach a consensus in the committee, then the principles will have to come together to come up with the final position on the number of states and boundaries,” he said.

Information Minister Michael Makuei said meetings between Kiir and Machar resulted in major progress on security arrangements and political issues. He pointed out that the parties will form a committee to break the impasse over determining the number of states.

 “The committee will be established soon and it is supposed to accomplish its task before the next IGAD summit,” Makuei explained.

Kiir and Machar agreed to ensure the Transitional Government of National Unity is formed by November, according to Makuei.

The meeting between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar comes as a 12 November deadline approaches to form a new government.