News / Africa

South Sudan Government, Rebels Gather for Peace Talks

  • Members of the South Sudan rebel delegation attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Taban Deng Gai, left, head of the rebel delegation and South Sudan's leader of the government delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial, attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Unidentified members of the delegation from the South Sudan government and western observers meet at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • A displaced mother and her baby, one of the few to have a mosquito net, wake up at a refugee camp, Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 2, 2014.
  • A young displaced girl carries a bucket of water back to her makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound. The compound has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Displaced people gather inside a mosquito net tent as they flee from the fighting between the South Sudanese army and rebels in Bor town, in Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 30, 2013.
  • A displaced woman hangs up laundry on the plastic sheeting wall of a latrine at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Yared, 2, is held by his mother, Madhn, who fled from the town of Bor a few days ago. She receives medicine for her child at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical tent, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A young displaced boy rests on the wheel arch of a water truck while others fill containers from it, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Africa, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A family makes tea outside their makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A general view of a camp for displaced people set up in a United Nations compound in Bor, South Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.
  • South Sudan army soldiers hold their weapons as they ride on a truck in Bor, Dec. 25, 2013.
Photos: South Sudan amid unrest
VOA News
Delegates for South Sudan's warring sides have gathered in Ethiopia for peace talks, following weeks of violence that has left more than 1,000 people dead.

Representatives of President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar arrived in the capital, Addis Ababa, Wednesday.  VOA reporter Marthe van der Wolf, who has talked to the delegates, says talks will begin Thursday at the earliest.

There were renewed clashes Wednesday between government troops and forces loyal to Machar in Bor, the capital of South Sudan's Jonglei state.  In a Twitter message, the government said its forces had partially withdrawn from Bor, but there still was fighting in the suburbs.

Watch related video from VOA:
Peace Talks Set to Begin in South Sudan Fightingi
X
January 02, 2014 6:40 AM
Delegates for South Sudan's warring sides are set to begin peace talks in Ethiopia Thursday, following weeks of violence that has left more than 1,000 people dead.

President Kiir declared a state of emergency in Jonglei state as well as the oil-producing Unity state.

The bloodshed in the world's newest country began in mid-December when  Kiir accused his former vice president Machar of attempting a coup.

Machar told VOA's South Sudan in Focus Wednesday that President Kiir was responsible for much of the unrest, and peace can not be achieved under Kiir's leadership. (listen to the full interview below) 

"He has disunited the country," said Machar.  "There is a massacre in Juba, 'ethnic cleansing' in Juba.  I don't think Salva Kiir can unite the people anymore."  

Machar said South Sudan's citizens should join him in a bid to force the president to step down, if he does not do so voluntarily.

"I hope they will join the SPLM [ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement] and the SPLA [ Sudan People's Liberation Army] in an uprising to force Salva Kiir to resign," Machar said.

Machar again called for the government to release his political allies who were jailed in the early days of the crisis.  He said the political leaders need to be part of the talks in Ethiopia.

The peace talks in Addis Ababa are being brokered by IGAD [the Intergovernmental Authority on Development], an East African regional bloc.

The United Nations says the violence in South Sudan has forced more than 180,000 people from their homes.

Witnesses say some of the violence is ethnically motivated, with supporters of  Kiir, a member of the Dinka tribe, and supporters of Machar, from the Nuer tribe, targeting each other because of their background.

Listen to our full interview with Riek Machar conducted by John Tanza:

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: SAHANE from: DAGAHALEY
January 04, 2014 2:55 AM
Really this is not the time for fighting and distraction as a south government and its people, It is time for Uniting and going forward for development
TO: officials.
We can said that it a crime against humanity.please stop the fight and Unite your please.

by: Blackstar Deng Bol Deng from: Juba
January 02, 2014 10:56 PM
I strongly want to urges two sides to agree the dialogue cuz fighting will not delivery us anywhere as our people are losing their lives like no responsibles for them.

by: AuwalAhmed from: Nigeria
January 01, 2014 10:54 PM
It s gossible for mr kir and mr machar to approuch each other to discuss in peace and resolve the issue for the protection of their cauntry from civil war

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