News / Africa

Productive South Sudan Talks Amid Ongoing Violence

South Sudan Army Retakes Bori
X
December 26, 2013 6:43 AM
South Sudan's president says government troops have regained control of the town of Bor in Jonglei state, a week after rebel forces took over the town.

Watch related video from VOA

VOA News
African mediators say they have held productive talks with South Sudan President Salva Kiir on ending his country's spiraling unrest.
 
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn were among officials who met with Kiir in the capital, Juba, on Thursday.
 
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom says they discussed a range of issues.
 
"The issues we discussed were among others: one is cessation of hostilities and the second is the immediate start of talks or dialogue to settle the issue politically, and the third issue is on the detainees who are suspects of the coup."
 
Kiir has accused his ex-deputy and political rival, Riek Machar, of masterminding a coup attempt that sparked fierce clashes nearly two weeks ago.

  • Members of the South Sudan rebel delegation attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Taban Deng Gai, left, head of the rebel delegation and South Sudan's leader of the government delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial, attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Unidentified members of the delegation from the South Sudan government and western observers meet at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • A displaced mother and her baby, one of the few to have a mosquito net, wake up at a refugee camp, Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 2, 2014.
  • A young displaced girl carries a bucket of water back to her makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound. The compound has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Displaced people gather inside a mosquito net tent as they flee from the fighting between the South Sudanese army and rebels in Bor town, in Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 30, 2013.
  • A displaced woman hangs up laundry on the plastic sheeting wall of a latrine at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Yared, 2, is held by his mother, Madhn, who fled from the town of Bor a few days ago. She receives medicine for her child at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical tent, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A young displaced boy rests on the wheel arch of a water truck while others fill containers from it, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Africa, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A family makes tea outside their makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A general view of a camp for displaced people set up in a United Nations compound in Bor, South Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.
  • South Sudan army soldiers hold their weapons as they ride on a truck in Bor, Dec. 25, 2013.

Both men have said they are ready for dialogue, but the government rejected Machar's demand that detained opposition leaders be released first.
 
Adhanom says the leaders also called for efforts to restore South Sudan's political stability.
 
"Leaders also have underlined that the unconstitutional means to remove democratically elected government should be condemned, and any solution to this crisis should be through political dialogue and the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] countries," he said. "The two leaders who were here will do their best to resolve this problem amicably."
 
Violence continued in South Sudan's oil-producing northern region on Thursday as the talks got under way.
 
The military says government troops are battling forces loyal to Machar in the towns of Bentiu and Malakal.
 
U.N. officials say more than a thousand people have been killed in the violence, which has pitted Kiir's ethnic Dinkas against the Nuer ethnic group of Machar.
 
The United Nations says it hopes to begin receiving within the next 48 hours critical reinforcements of military hardware and personnel for its overstretched peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, which is on the verge of  civil war.

In a Thursday briefing, U.N. special representative for South Sudan Hilde Johnson urged the country's political leaders to stop violence perpetrated by their forces and give peace a chance.
 
"It is absolutely fundamental that the leaders of the country and all political forces and communities now put their own identity as South Sudanese first and not their own identity as members of a particular [ethnic] community," Johnson said. "It is on that account that this country can move forward out of a situation of violence and strife and on to a peaceful track."
 
Johnson also says the unrest has strained U.N. humanitarian resources and that U.N. humanitarian officials are seeking an additional $166 million in aid.
 
"We are now at over 50,000 civilians in our various compounds in Juba, Bor, Bentiu, Malakal and elsewhere, and their presence is an eloquent testimony to the acute need for enhanced U.N. operations in South Sudan."
 
Machar, who is on the run, has not claimed responsibility for a coup attempt but has said the army should remove Kiir from power.
 
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the country's leaders to settle their differences peacefully, and protect civilians from attacks.
 
On Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council voted to send an additional 5,500 peacekeepers to South Sudan.
 
Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called both President Kiir and former vice president Machar, urging them to halt fighting and hold mediated talks.
 
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid