AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Meeting between Kiir and Machar in Addis Ababa: hopes to put an end to the civil war?

Wednesday, 20 June 2018 refugees  

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - The two protagonists of one of the most dramatic and forgotten civil wars in the world, that of South Sudan, will meet in Addis Ababa today, 20 June. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar will meet in the capital of Ethiopia to try to find an agreement to end the civil conflict that exploded in December 2013, which has caused at least two million refugees in neighboring Countries, Uganda in particular, and more than four million internally displaced. The meeting, which takes place on the day when World Refugee Day is celebrated, is the first after a previous agreement to end the hostilities in July 2016 failed, giving rise to a new cycle of fighting.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011. But after more than four years of civil war, the government of Juba is bankrupt and hyperinflation - which reached 500 percent in 2016, declining to 155 percent in 2017 - has pushed prices up. The South Sudanese pound has collapsed. Oil production - from which South Sudan receives 98% of its revenues - has fallen to about 120,000 barrels a day from a peak of 350,000, according to the World Bank.
Juba, which has inherited three quarters of the former oil reserves of Sudan, depends on the oil infrastructure of the northern neighbor - refineries and pipelines - for its exports. The conflict has also severely halted agricultural production, which in turn has caused a serious food crisis. In 2017, South Sudan went through four months of famine, which affected about 100,000 people. This year, according to the UN, seven million South Sudanese, more than half of the population, will need food aid. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 20/6/2018)