News / Africa

    South Sudan Factions Sign Cease-Fire

    Nhail Deng Nhail, 2nd left, the head of South Sudan's negotiating team, and top negotiator for the rebel's side, Taban Deng Gai, right, a general in South Sudan's army before he defected, sign a cessation of hostilities agreement in Addis Ababa, Jan 23, 2014.
    Nhail Deng Nhail, 2nd left, the head of South Sudan's negotiating team, and top negotiator for the rebel's side, Taban Deng Gai, right, a general in South Sudan's army before he defected, sign a cessation of hostilities agreement in Addis Ababa, Jan 23, 2014.
    Marthe van der Wolf
    A cease-fire agreement has been signed by the fighting South Sudanese parties.  
     
    The government of South Sudan and the opposition signed two agreements Thursday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.  The first concerns an immediate cessation of military actions and a second deals with the release of 11 political detainees that have been imprisoned since the start of the conflict in mid-December.
     
    The peace talks led by the East African Bloc IGAD started early last month.  Lead IGAD mediator Seyoum Mesfin says several steps need to be taken by both parties now that they have signed the agreements.

    “One, implement any agreements that they signed, in good faith and with full commitment.  Two, begin the work towards rehabilitation and support to the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people and refugees.  Three, we must soon continue with political dialogue and work towards an all-inclusive national reconciliation," said Mesfin.

    The cease-fire agreement calls for the government and opposition forces to stay where they are.  Ugandan troops supporting the government in South Sudan will have to leave all “theater of operations” within 24 hours.

    The agreement on the question of the 11 detainees did not outline when they will be released.
     
    No friendly words were spoken between the government of South Sudan and the opposition during the signing ceremony.
     
    Lead government negotiator Nhial Deng Nhial blamed the opposition for asking for preconditions, such as the release of the detainees.  He also said he is concerned about opposition fighters.
     
    “What really worries us, in terms of whether the agreement of cessation of hostilities will stick or not, is the capacity of the rebel group.  Given that the bulk of the rebel army is made up of civilians who are not subject to military discipline, orders to stop fighting may not be obeyed.  This will certainly make a mockery of the agreement.  We therefore urge IGAD and the broader international community to pay special attention to this problem," said Nhial.
     
    Lead opposition negotiator Taban Deng Gai says the opposition did not initiate the violence.
     
    “Our core goal has always been reforms, democratization of the political process within the SPLM party and peaceful transfer of power," said Gai.
             
    Fighting in South Sudan broke out in mid-December between backers of President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar.
     
    IGAD mediator Seyoum warned both parties the post-war challenges will be greater than the war itself:

    “Agreements and peace deals signed in good faith are many, but those successfully implemented are fewer, far fewer.  Equally, such sentiments may only provide a temporarily reprieve before violence escalates again.  We do not want this to be the case in South Sudan," said Seyoum.

    A statement from President Obama said he welcomed the agreement adding that "South Sudan’s leaders need to work to fully and immediately implement the agreement and start an inclusive political dialogue to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict.  The full participation of political detainees currently being held by the Government of South Sudan will be critical to those discussions, and we will continue to work to expedite their release," said the statement.

    You May Like

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    City could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters

    Turkey Aims New Crackdown at Journalists, Academics, Airline Workers

    Ankara continues targeting people allegedly linked to exiled cleric, who it says led the failed military coup

    Pakistan Ready to Inaugurate Rebuilt Afghan Border Crossing

    Construction of Torkham Gate triggered deadly clashes between Pakistani and Afghan military forces

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora