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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs