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 Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

Al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs