News / Africa

IGAD Mediator Makes Poignant Plea for South Sudan Peace

Members of South Sudan's rebel delegation are seen at the opening ceremony of peace talks in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 4, 2014.
Members of South Sudan's rebel delegation are seen at the opening ceremony of peace talks in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 4, 2014.
One of the chief mediators in the South Sudan peace talks pleaded with the two warring factions to urgently resolve their differences so that parents in the world's newest nation can stop burying their children.


In a country of war, it is the parents who bury their sons and daughters, while in a country of peace, it is the sons and daughters who bury their parents.
“In a country of war, it is the parents who bury their sons and daughters, while in a country of peace, it is the sons and daughters who bury their parents," Ethiopian diplomat Seyoum Mesfin told a news conference Monday at the close of preliminary talks mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) between the two sides in the South Sudan conflict.

"South Sudan has been more than two, three generations since the parents were burying their sons and daughters," he said.

Just two and a half years after the country gained its hard-fought independence after a decades-long war with Sudan, "again, parents are burying their loved ones, their sons and daughters," he added, pleading with South Sudanese leaders to bury their differences and make peace to finally end the suffering of the people.


Seyoum was speaking after preliminary negotiations wrapped up in Addis Ababa between delegates representing South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar, the two main protagonists in the fighting that has claimed more than than 1,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands in three weeks.

The two sides on Tuesday held a first day of what Seyoum said would be "substantive" talks focussed on the cessation of hostilities and the status of 11 senior members of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) who were detained by the government in the days following the outbreak of fighting in Juba on Dec. 15. 


Machar has called for the detainees to be released so that they could be part of his negotiating team in Addis Ababa, but Kiir has insisted that the talks go ahead without preconditions and ruled out releasing the detainees. 

The U.S. State Department called for the SPLM leaders to be released so that they could take part in the talks in the Ethiopian capital.

"We do believe that to be meaningful and productive, senior SPLM leaders currently detained in Juba need to be present for political discussions, which are happening in Addis," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said..

"To help move these talks forward, we urge the government of South Sudan to uphold its commitments and release political detainees immediately," she said.

Kiir, who has said the unrest that has spread around South Sudan was triggered by a failed coup attempt by soldiers loyal to Machar, has said the detainees will only be released "after legal procedures have been exhausted," adding that "they will be released, but not as a precondition for talks.”

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John Wani Ladu from: Juba
January 07, 2014 11:26 PM
Kirr is just try to get rid of his political opponents, he doesn't want democratic changes within party n country, he's a dictator n need to go or accept democratic changes not arrests intimidations n right abuses, USA should help South Sudan by pressure Kirr to accept n respect democratic changes for better future.

by: Anonymous
January 07, 2014 10:42 PM
For God's sake the unfold event in Juba was not a coup as President Kiir alleged to. It would be a big joke for somebody to make a coup and would still sit in his own houses as happened to these SPLM senior leaders who were accused of the 'Coup attempt'.

by: Amde from: Addis
January 07, 2014 10:16 PM
The request for the release of the detained SPLM leaders is to help creat an aura of trust and confidence to the peace process. I believe all of us know that peace comes with a price. That price no matter how expensive it is never be greater than South Sudan and its innocent people.We should stand way above procedural matters that have no far reaching impact to the Peace and survaival of S Sudan.

by: Akoon from: Juba
January 07, 2014 2:00 PM
Why U.S always interfering in Suoth Sudan affair we are independent we want them to mastermind law of the country and this people should not release without facing charges of treason.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More