LEFT: South Sudan's President Salva Kiir. RIGHT:  Rebel leader Riek Machar. PHOTO | AFPLEFT: South Sudan's President Salva Kiir. RIGHT: Rebel leader Riek Machar. PHOTO | AFP
By EVELYNE MUSAMBI

It is hug-shakes season and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his rival Riek Machar have caught the fever.

The two hugged it out on Wednesday night, their first face to face meeting in two years.

The group hug was prompted by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

PM Ahmed, in a short video shared online, had call for a hug and the two leaders were for a moment confused, before Machar reached out and a historical hug is documented.

The PM at the end of the hugs said peace is very important, adding that the two brothers will play a role is bringing peace in South Sudan.

President Kiir and Machar had just held a closed door meeting at the Ethiopian prime minister’s office.

Machar, who was greeted ahead of the meeting by Ethiopia’s foreign minister, Worken Gebeyehu, arrived in Addis Ababa Wednesday morning.

President Kiir followed in the afternoon and was met by PM Ahmed.

The official scope of the talks is broad — to build bridges between the two — but analysts say the outcome remains unclear given their notoriously volatile relationship and entrenched positions.