Warring S.Sudan leaders agree on ‘some points’

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar reached an agreement on “some points” in peace talks in Khartoum on Tuesday, Sudan’s foreign minister said.

Al Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed said the points agreed on would be announced on Wednesday morning.

Machar told reporters after meeting Kiir that he had demanded another 48 hours to consult with other parts of the South Sudanese opposition before signing any draft agreements.

The two leaders met on Monday for talks to end a civil war that broke out in 2013, less than two years after the country gained independence from Sudan.

In another round of talks in Addis Ababa last week, South Sudan offered to allow a rebel representative to join its government on Friday, but ruled out Machar himself.

Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir convened this week’s talks in Khartoum, which began on Monday. Sudan has struggled economically since the oil-rich south seceded, and is facing its worst budget crisis for years. (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, Duncan Miriri in Nairobi, John Davison in Cairo; editing by John Stonestreet)

Kiir said he hopes his meeting with Machar in Khartoum will bring an “immediate end” to the devastating war in their country.

“I have come to really bring this unnecessary war in our country to an immediate end, and I hope that Doctor Riek Machar is ready to see my point,” Kiir said, as the meeting got underway in the presence of Bashir and Museveni.

Machar too raised hopes that peace was possible in South Sudan, where tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly four million displaced since fighting erupted in December 2013.

“There is a chance for peace and there is a way to achieve peace,” Machar said, in his first remarks to journalists in more than two years. The two leaders shook hands and later stood alongside Bashir and Museveni with their hands raised as the meeting commenced.

South Sudan’s war began after Kiir fell out with his then deputy Machar in December 2013, dashing the optimism that accompanied its independence from Sudan just two years earlier.

It is unclear how long the two leaders will be in Khartoum, but their delegations are scheduled to discuss over the next two weeks thorny issues including power-sharing and security arrangements in South Sudan, officials say.