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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid