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JUBA - 10 Sep 2019

Kiir, Machar meeting adjourned

South Sudan President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar have adjourned their meeting until tomorrow morning.

The meeting was initially scheduled to take place at the presidential palace in Juba this morning.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said: "The meeting that was supposed to take place today between President Kiir and the SPLM-IO leader, Dr Riek Machar has been adjourned to tomorrow morning".

Ateny pointed out that the office of the president adjourned the meeting because Kiir had other commitments. “The president is busy with other things that are also necessary for the country. Also, the adjournment is a blessing in disguise because this marks the second night for Dr Riek in Juba,” he said.

“The meeting has been adjourned until tomorrow… it is not intentional because the alteration of the time came after Dr. Riek agreed,” he explained.

 Ateny, who is also the presidential press secretary, told reporters that the second phase of talks between the two leaders will take place on Wednesday morning. Kiir and Machar are expected to discuss political issues in the stalled peace deal.

“Dr Riek will go back after they exhaust all the things that are supposed to be discussed prior to the formation of the unity government in November,” Ateny said.

On Monday, Kiir and Machar met and reviewed progress on security arrangements, a key part of the peace deal signed by the rival parties last year.

The meeting between the two rival leaders is seen as a key step towards the implementation of the September 2018 peace deal, which has been delayed by disputes.

The meeting between Kiir and Machar comes as a 12 November deadline approaches to form a new government. The rival parties had been unable to unify forces and determine the number of states since the peace agreement had been signed.