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

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid