The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali has invited South Sudan President Salva Kiir and the leader of main armed opposition group Riek Machar to meet in Addis Ababa on June 20 for talks.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In opposition (SPLM-IO), whose exiled leader Machar is currently under house arrest in South Africa, acknowledged receipt of the invitation and saluted the courage of regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), for arranging the meeting, the Sudan Tribune reported.

"The Movement welcomes this invitation and salutes the courage of IGAD for reaching this prudent and timely decision, it will go a long way in building confidence in the peace process," said Mabior Garang de Mabior, head of SPLM-IO National Committee for Information and Public Relations in a statement.

Kiir’s office confirmed receipt of the invitation.

The Addis Ababa meeting follows a similar attempt by Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir to bring Kiir and Machar together for discussions.

The two rivals will also meet the IGAD leaders on the sidelines of the upcoming African Union summit in Mauritania next month.

-  African News Agency (ANA)