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

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 Million by January

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid