For the first time in almost two years, South Sudan’s warring leaders met face-to-face for peace talks amid efforts to end a brutal civil war.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar met in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. A statement from Mr. Machar’s opposition spokesman called the initial meeting “cordial” and said that “the two leaders discussed the prospects for peace in broad terms.”
South Sudan’s civil war has persisted for five years. The conflict plunged the world’s youngest nation into a humanitarian crisis, displacing millions and blocking parts of the country from emergency aid.
This year is expected to be the worst yet for food security, with millions potentially facing acute malnutrition. The deteriorating conditions have driven foreign governments and international agencies to press the leaders to return to the negotiating table.
Even if a peace agreement can be reached, there will be a long road to recovery in South Sudan. For now, aid groups are focusing on the immediate needs of civilians, a mission that will face fewer obstacles if the fighting can be stopped.