News / Africa

Opposition Threatens Boycott of South Sudan Talks

Rebel fighters hold their weapons as they march in a village in the rebel-controlled territory of Upper Nile state, South Sudan, Feb. 9, 2014.
Rebel fighters hold their weapons as they march in a village in the rebel-controlled territory of Upper Nile state, South Sudan, Feb. 9, 2014.
Marthe van der Wolf
— The second round of peace talks between South Sudanese rebels and the government is scheduled to open Tuesday in Ethiopia's capital. The rebels say that unless their demands are met, however, they will boycott the negotiations.
 
The East African regional bloc IGAD says this stage of talks will focus on a political process. But delegates for the rebels side are putting a hold on those plans. They said Monday they will not participate unless three demands are met: the withdrawal of government troops from a U.N. camp in Juba, the release of four political detainees the government has held since mid-December, and the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from South Sudan.
 
A spokesperson for the opposition, Yohanis Pouk, said they have no choice but to abstain. “We feel that they are not honoring all the agreements that we signed with them. And therefore we think that 'Let us first implement the agreement we signed, then we go to the second round.'”

South Sudanese RefugeesSouth Sudanese Refugees
x
South Sudanese Refugees
South Sudanese Refugees
New round

IGAD envoy and lead negotiator Seyoum Mesfin said the new round of talks will start regardless. “It does not reflect the preparations and the process that we are in. Because the launching of this second phase of the negotiations would be a reality and there is a commitment from all parties,” he said.
 
The two sides signed a pair of agreements in late January - one calling for a cessation of hostilities, the other dealing with the status of eleven political detainees. Since then, seven of the detainees have been released. Those seven have informed IGAD they will not take part in the talks, on either the side of the government or the rebels.
 
The presence of Ugandan troops fighting alongside South Sudanese government troops also has been an issue.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who also is chairman of IGAD, said IGAD supports Uganda for supporting a legitimate chosen government, though he also said the intervention of foreign troops can be worrisome.
 
“What worries IGAD so much is because of this intervention, the conflict might end up into regional conflict, because there are other interests also from other sides. And if everybody looks into specific countries national interest alone, then that will destabilize the whole regional because it becomes a regional conflict,” he said.

Fighting broke out in South Sudan in mid-December and has resulted in a bloody conflict that has left thousands dead and has displaced more than a half-million people.
 
The talks Tuesday are to begin by setting the agenda for the political process - if the talks begin at all.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid