JUBA, June 07, (Xinhua) - Sudan says it has
offered to mediate talks between the two warring South Sudan leaders in the
Sudanese capital Juba.
Visiting Sudanese Foreign Minister Al-Dierdiry al-Dhikheri said President Omar al-Bashir has invited President Salva Kiir and his rival, former First Vice President Riek Machar, to Khartoum on a yet-to-be-disclosed date in a bid to reach final peaceful settlement to the conflict.
Martin Elia Lomuro, acting South Sudan Foreign Minister, said Kiir welcomed the initiative from his Sudanese counterpart and stands ready to hold talks with his erstwhile rival.
Last week, the East African regional bloc, IGAD, which is mediating efforts to revive South Sudan's stalled 2015 peace deal, recommended a Kiir-Machar meeting before the next African Union summit slated for July in Mauritania.
The meeting was called for after the several warring parties in South Sudan last month failed to agree during the second round of the High Level Revitalization Forum held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Lomuro revealed that the peace initiative by the Sudanese leader will not affect efforts under the IGAD peace revitalization process.
"We now await this initiative to take place within the context of the IGAD process.
It is not a parallel initiative; it is initiative within the context of IGAD revitalization process.
We are happy that this is coming from Sudan," he said.
The Minister said that the two countries also agreed to cooperate on oil production since they signed the 2012 agreement that allows South Sudan to pay oil dues to Sudan through transportation through Port Sudan.
South Sudan's oil production plummeted due to conflict from over 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) to less than 160,000 bpd coupled with the economic hardship that led Juba to negotiate oil pipeline fee with its northern neighbour.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 20013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under UN pressures led to the establishment of a transitional unity government, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.