South Sudan president ready to talk with former deputy: US envoy

Washington, Dec 24: South Sudan President Salva Kiir has said he is ready to hold talks with country’s former vice president Riek Machar “without preconditions” to end the prevailing crisis in the conflict-ravaged country, a US envoy said Monday.

US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, said he had a “frank and open” discussion with Kiir in the South Sudanese capital of Juba earlier in the day, Xinhua reported.

“President Kiir committed to me that he was ready to begin talks with Riek Machar to end the crisis, without preconditions, as soon as his counterpart was willing,” Booth told reporters via teleconference.

Deadly clashes have escalated in South Sudan since Dec 15, following what Kiir’s government claimed was an attempted coup by soldiers loyal to Machar, who was dismissed in July.