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South Sudan Government a No-Show at Peace Talks


The head of the rebel delegation at peace talks for South Sudan in Addis Ababa, Taban Deng Gai, shown here addressing journalists in January 2014, says the government delegation has not shown up for the talks for the last few days.

The head of the rebel delegation at peace talks for South Sudan in Addis Ababa, Taban Deng Gai, shown here addressing journalists in January 2014, says the government delegation has not shown up for the talks for the last few days.

Opposition delegates at the slow-moving peace talks for South Sudan on Tuesday said government negotiators have failed to show up for the talks in Addis Ababa since last week.

"It is unfortunate that the government has decided not to participate -- they have withdrawn actually from Friday," the lead negotiator for the opposition, Taban Deng Gai, said.

South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei, who is the government’s spokesman at the talks, declined to comment. Makuei told VOA he does not want to negotiate through the media.

Mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which has been trying since January to broker peace between the two sides, were not available for comment.

Gai said he believes the government delegation is avoiding talks on the formation of a transitional government, which would include officials from the opposition.

"Their main problem is that they don’t want to discuss issues. Actually, they don’t want to share power," he said.

Gai says the opposition will continue to negotiate with other parties at the talks, regardless of whether the government takes part or not.

The international community, including the United States, United Nations and European Union, have warned both sides that if they do not take the talks seriously, they could impose additional targeted sanctions on officials deemed to be blocking the peace process.

The United States and EU have imposed sanctions on military commanders on both sides in the eight-month conflict.

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