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

Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Unlikely Before Monday

Tension builds over possible indictment of white police officer in shooting death of black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current Russian-backed rebels’ fight in east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid