South Sudan's warring leaders invited to meet next week

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — South Sudan's president and rebel leader have been invited to meet face-to-face next week in Ethiopia in an effort to end a five-year civil war.

An opposition statement welcomes the invitation by Ethiopia's prime minister for Riek Machar to meet with President Salva Kiir on June 20 and calls it a "prudent and timely decision." Machar fled South Sudan after fighting erupted in the capital in July 2016 and hasn't met with Kiir since then.

While South Sudan's government hasn't said whether the president will attend, spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny calls the invitation "significant" and tells The Associated Press that "anything that brings peace in South Sudan is wanted."

The proposed meeting would be mediated by the East African regional bloc that has led several rounds of failed peace talks.