News / Africa

    South Sudan ‘Committed’ to Peace after Ceasefire Agreement

    South Sudan peace negotiators meet in a night club in Addis Ababa on Jan. 13, 2014.
    South Sudan peace negotiators meet in a night club in Addis Ababa on Jan. 13, 2014.
    Peter Clottey
    The ceasefire agreement between South Sudan’s warring factions signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is a strong indication that President Salva Kiir and his government in Juba is committed to peace negotiations to resolve the country’s conflict, says Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan’s foreign minister.

    Benjamin says the signing of the ceasefire agreement shows commitment that the government in Juba has embraced regional efforts to stop the violence and ensure peace in South Sudan.

    He also says Mr. Kiir will keep his promise to pardon former vice president Riek Machar if his former deputy renounces violence.

    “That is an offer and that is exactly the nature of our president. He has been actually pardoning and giving amnesty to all those militias who did a lot of damage to our country, so why not his former vice president who has been his vice president for eight years?” asked Benjamin. “He is willing to forgive as long as he stops this damage that Dr. Riek Machar is doing in terms of stopping the fighting.”

    Representatives of South Sudan’s government and allies of former vice president Riek Machar signed a ceasefire agreement late Thursday night in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, following weeks of regional and international pressure to do so.

    Benjamin says the agreement shows the government’s willingness to end the conflict through dialogue. The negotiations were brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional body.

    “It sends a very strong signal that the government is committed to honoring the role that IGAD countries are playing in trying to resolve this crisis peacefully,” said Benjamin. “The government which has been saying that there must be peace in our country and that we can resolve our disputes through dialogue. So, it is a commitment of cessation of hostilities, [and] this is important because it will stop the suffering of our citizens.”

    South Sudan’s violence erupted after President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, accused former vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer, of attempting a coup.  Mr. Macher who is in hiding has denied the accusation. 

    News reports say ethnic tensions between the two groups are partly fueling the conflict, with members of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups targeting each other. 

    Benjamin says the agreement paves the way for a resolution over the political disagreement within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement that is blamed for the conflict.

    “It falls within the principles, which were suggested by IGAD as the basis for resolving the crisis politically, and that is; cessation of hostilities without any conditions, the issue of the detainees, the unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance,” said Benjamin. “So now with the cessation of hostilities, we will move to see what happens with the humanitarian front of that, in this case the resettlement and support of all those thousands of people who have been displaced in their homes.”

    Machar had previously refused to sign any deal unless those detained by the government for allegedly plotting to overthrow the administration are released. Benjamin says the signed agreement is a positive step.

    “This agreement contains something of the issue of the detainees, and there is also a move forward in that direction,” said Benjamin. “So that gives a signal that political settlement of this issue is possible.”

    Clottey interview with Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan foreign minister
    Clottey interview with Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan foreign ministeri
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora