World News

South Sudan Factions Sign Ceasefire



South Sudan's warring factions have signed a ceasefire plan, a move that is expected to end weeks of deadly fighting between the government and rebel forces.

Representatives for President Salva Kiir and his opponents signed the plan Thursday in Ethiopia's capital, where they have been meeting with mediators from East African regional bloc known as IGAD .

Representatives at the talks signed two agreements. One agreement calls for both sides to immediately cease all military operations and refrain from any action that could lead to confrontations. It also calls for the establishment of a verification and monitoring team.

The second agreement deals with the status of detainees. Earlier, negotiations had bogged down over the government's refusal to release 11 political opposition supporters who were detained shortly after the crisis erupted in mid-December.
The agreement calls for setting up a national reconciliation process that includes "detainees and political actors."

However, a government representative at the talks told a reporter for VOA that the detainees would still have to face due process of law.

In a statement, IGAD hailed the accord. Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, the special envoys chairman, called the signing an "important milestone" in a process that could lead to a peaceful political solution to South Sudan's crisis.



Earlier this week, a U.N. human rights official said "thousands" of people had been killed since the South Sudan conflict broke out in mid-December.

South Sudan's crisis was touched off by a December gun battle at army headquarters in the capital, Juba. President Kiir accused former vice president Riek Machar of attempting a coup, a charge Machar denied.

The U.S. White House hailed word on a agreement. Spokesman Jay Carney said it was "a first critical step in ending the violence."



"The United States urges both sides to build on this momentum by moving swiftly to an inclusive poetical dialogue to resolve the underlying causes of the current conflict. The U.S. will remain a steady partner to those who choose the path of peace and continue to work for a more peaceful, democratic, unified South Sudan."



U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reacted, saying he hoped the peace deal would provide "good opportunities" for those who have been suffering.

The United Nation's humanitarian office says over the past six weeks violence in South Sudan has left more than half a million people displaced, including over 100,000 who have fled to neighboring countries.

A Thursday statement said U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos is set to begin a three-day trip to South Sudan on Monday. The U.N. said she will meet with government representatives and humanitarian groups in an effort to draw attention to the "humanitarian consequences" of the country's unrest.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs