News / Africa

South Sudan Government Delegation Optimistic on Deal

Displaced men rest in an improvised shelter at Tomping camp, where some 17,000 displaced people who fled their homes after violence erupted in South Sudan's capital Juba in mid-December are being sheltered by the United Nations, in Juba, Jan. 10, 2014.
Displaced men rest in an improvised shelter at Tomping camp, where some 17,000 displaced people who fled their homes after violence erupted in South Sudan's capital Juba in mid-December are being sheltered by the United Nations, in Juba, Jan. 10, 2014.
Reuters
Three African envoys headed to South Sudan on Saturday to try to persuade rebel leader Riek Machar to accept a ceasefire deal to end fighting that has driven the world's youngest nation to the brink of full-blown civil war.

More than three weeks of fighting between President Salva Kiir's SPLA government forces and rebels loyal to former vice president Machar have killed more than 1,000 people, driven 230,000 from their homes and forced a cut in oil production.

Kiir's information minister said he believed the ceasefire deal, which the two sides have been haggling over in face-to-face talks in neighboring Ethiopia since Tuesday, could be signed once the envoys return to Addis Ababa.

“The negotiators traveled to South Sudan this morning to meet Riek Machar. The aim is to expedite the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement,” a diplomat close to the talks told Reuters.

Machar's whereabouts have not been disclosed by members of his delegation at the Addis Ababa talks. But sources at the talks say he is in a town in South Sudan's strife-torn Jonglei region close to the border with Ethiopia.

A draft copy of the ceasefire deal drafted by mediators envisages monitoring mechanisms to ensure full implementation. The ceasefire has been held up by rebel demands for the release of 11 politicians allied to Machar and detained since December.

'Optimistic'

“We are optimistic that we will sign the cessation of hostilities agreement as soon as the envoys are back from their mission," said South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei, who heads the government's delegation in Addis Ababa.

South Sudan's army said on Friday it had regained the rebel-held town of Bentiu, restoring government control of Unity state where oil production had been halted by fighting.

The rebels said they made a “tactical withdrawal” from Bentiu to avoid civilian casualties.

South Sudan's oil production fell by 45,000 barrels per day to 200,000 bpd after oilfields in Unity state were shut down due to fighting. Upper Nile state is still pumping about 200,000 bpd, according to the government.

The conflict in South Sudan has caused unease among the country's main Western backers and neighbors.

Sources briefed on U.S. discussions told Reuters Washington was weighing targeted sanctions against South Sudan due to its leaders' failure to end the crisis. Such sanctions focus on individuals, entities or sectors in a country.

The possibility of sanctions against a country Washington helped create in 2011 shows how frustrated President Barack Obama's administration has become with Kiir and the rebels.

Largely Christian South Sudan gained independence from predominantly Muslim Sudan in 2011 after a referendum was held in keeping with a 2005 U.S.-backed peace deal that ended a north-south civil war that had left millions dead.

You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs