News / Africa

South Sudan Warring Factions Move Toward Peace Talks

  • Displaced people who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor by boat across the White Nile, prepare to sleep in the open in the town of Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • A young displaced boy rests on the wheel arch of a water truck while others fill containers from it, at a United Nations compound on the outskirts of Juba, the South Sudanese capital.
  • Yared, 2, is held by mother Madhn who fled from the town of Bor a few days ago, as she receives medicine for her child at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical tent at a United Nations compound.
  • Displaced people gather under a mosquito net tent as they flee from fighting between the South Sudanese army and rebels in Bor town, 180 km (112 miles) northwest from capital Juba December 30, 2013.
  • A soldier from South Sudan's army stands guard in Malakal in the Upper Nile State of South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A young displaced girl carries a bucket of water back to her makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in the Jebel area on the outskirts of Juba.
  • The U.N.'s top humanitarian official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, assesses the situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, Unity state, South Sudan, Dec. 24, 2013. (UNMISS)
  • A pirogue packed with passengers arrives at a dock after crossing a waterway near the town of Malakal, seen from an airplane over South Sudan, Dec. 30, 2013.
  • U.N.'s top humanitarian official in the country Toby Lanzer, left, makes a visit to assess the humanitarian situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, in oil-rich Unity state, in South Sudan, Dec. 24, 2013.
Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes since fighting broke out in South Sudan on Dec. 15.
Delegates from the warring sides in South Sudan met separately Friday with African mediators to lay the ground rules for face-to-face negotiations to end nearly three weeks of violence that has killed at least 1,000 people in the world's newest nation.

But even as the negotiating teams for South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his rival in the conflict, former Vice President Riek Machar, met in Addis Ababa with mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), fighting continued in South Sudan.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled their homes as clashes raged between rebel forces loyal to Machar and government troops.

The rebels, who control the two oil-producing states of Unity and Upper Nile and this week recaptured Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, have said they are poised to march on Juba, around 200 kilometers to the south, while army General James Hoth Mai said government forces were advancing toward Bor to take on the rebels.

"We don't yet have a ceasefire... and we don't want them to come and get us somewhere here so we have to go to them," Hoth Mai said.
S. Sudan Rebels Want Prisoners Released at Peace Talksi
X
January 03, 2014 6:26 AM
South Sudan's army continues to battle rebel forces, even as negotiators from the warring sides expect to begin talks Friday aimed at ending the violence that has pushed the world's newest country toward civil war.


A U.N. spokesperson in New York said anti-government troops were seen around Bor on Friday, and that fighting was still ongoing in Upper Nile state. Citing officials from the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the spokesperson said the security situation also remained "volatile" in Unity state, especially in Mayom county.

on Dec. 15 when renegade army troops attacked



Ugandan Foreign Ministry spokesman Fred Opolot said IGAD mediators will push for a cessation of hostilities in South Sudan to be "one of the ground rules" for the peace talks in Addis Ababa, but said he was not sure how long it would take to get through the preliminary round of talks that began Friday.

"Before any substantive talks begin, we have to lay the ground rules," Opolot said.

"I'm pretty sure that a ceasefire will be one of the ground rules... But the ground rules may take a few days" to agree to, he said.

IGAD, which was a key player in brokering the 2005 peace agreement that ended Sudan's long civil war, which resulted in the birth of South Sudan in 2011, will be the "key facilitator" at the talks in Addis Ababa, Opolot said.

U.S. Evacuates More Embassy Staff


As the two sides moved toward face-to-face peace negotiations, the United States evacuated most of the remaining personnel from its embassy in Juba and urged any U.S. citizens still in South Sudan to leave the country immediately, due to the "deteriorating security situation."

The Pentagon said that 20 Americans were evacuated from Juba to Entebbe in Uganda Friday and that two C-130 aircraft are "standing by for any further requests from the State Department" for help in South Sudan.

The United States and several European countries evacuated scores of their citizens from South Sudan in the days immediately following the outbreak of violence.

U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Susan Page is still in Juba and will maintain "constant communication" with South Sudanese officials, UNMISS and her foreign counterparts, the State Department said in a statement.

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi will provide consular services for U.S. citizens who choose to stay in South Sudan while the embassy in Juba is closed. The statement did not say how long that would be.

U.S. Announces More Aid for South Sudan


Even as the United States drew down its embassy staffing in Juba, Washington announced a new injection of nearly $50 million in aid to help address the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, where U.N. officials have said the numbers of displaced persons could leap to 400,000 if a peace deal is not reached in Ethiopia.

The monies "will for all intents and purposes be available immediately to our partners" on the ground in South Sudan, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Hopkins told VOA News.

U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, was in Addis Ababa Friday for the start of the peace talks, she said. 

He and Secretary of State John Kerry "continue to urge President Kiir and former Vice President Machar to reach an immediate cessation of hostilities, most importantly allow full and unfettered humanitarian access, and to work to resolve their differences peaceful and democratically," Hopkins said.

"We remain very committed to peace and stability in South Sudan," she said.

Displaced people who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor by boat across the White Nile, prepare to sleep in the open at night in the town of Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 1, 2014.Displaced people who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor by boat across the White Nile, prepare to sleep in the open at night in the town of Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 1, 2014.
x
Displaced people who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor by boat across the White Nile, prepare to sleep in the open at night in the town of Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 1, 2014.
Displaced people who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor by boat across the White Nile, prepare to sleep in the open at night in the town of Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 1, 2014.
The United Nations said that aid agencies in South Sudan are scaling up their work, especially in towns that have been struck by violence and in rural sites where civilians have sought safety.

“The largest site of civilians was in Awerial, Lakes State, where up to 76,000 people have gathered,” Jens Laerke of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told reporters in Geneva on Friday.

Laerke said aid agencies are providing food, non-food items and basic healthcare in Awerial, and are stepping up efforts to make clean water and latrines available.

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs