South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar met with President Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa on Wednesday as part of talks to try to negotiate an end to a five-year civil war. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister’s chief of staff said this on Twitter.
Kiir and Machar met individually with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed before the three sat down together. The Kiir and Machar meeting in Addis is the first between the two since a peace deal between the government and Machar’s rebel group fell apart in August 2016.
Both leaders continued meeting into the night and are expected to continue discussions today. Activists have urged the two sides to reach a sustainable peace agreement.
Ethiopia invited them for talks as pressure grows to end a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and created Africa’s largest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Machar had been held under house arrest in South Africa since late 2016 after fleeing South Sudan.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the civil war that broke out in late 2013 when troops loyal to Machar, the former vice president of South Sudan, launched a rebellion against the government.