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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

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

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