South Sudan: Foes Set to Meet in Ethiopia
The two figures at the center of the civil war that has ravaged South Sudan are scheduled to meet on Wednesday for the first time in nearly two years.
Ethiopia, which has helped broker the meeting, says rebel leader Riek Machar, who fled South Sudan in July 2016, is expected to meet face-to-face with the country's president, Salva Kiir.
Machar arrived in the Ethiopian capital Wednesday morning for the talks.
The official scope of the talks is broad to build bridges between the two parties.
Meanwhile, analysts consider that the outcome remains unclear given their notoriously volatile relationship, and there is doubt whether the meeting will even take place.
Once comrades-in arms in the fight for independence, Kiir and Machar experienced a bitter falling out, a development that played a key part in the civil war that blights the future of the world's youngest state.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly a third of the 12 million population have been driven out of their homes, and many to the brink of starvation.
The two will meet at the invitation of Ethiopia's new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, who also chairs the Intergovernmental Authority on Development [IGAD] regional bloc that has taken the lead in thus-far fruitless peace negotiations.
A landlocked state with a large ethnic mix, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after a long and brutal war.
But in 2013, Kiir accused Machar, his vice president, of plotting a coup against him, and violence erupted between the two factions, feeding on brooding ethnic tensions.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team