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South Sudan Gov't, Rebels Consider Cease-Fire

Delegates for South Sudan's government and the rebels trying to overthrow it are considering a cease-fire proposal.

Regional mediators presented a draft cessation of hostilities agreement Tuesday, as talks to end more than three weeks of deadly fighting in South Sudan continued in Ethiopia.

Mediators from the East African bloc IGAD later flew to South Sudan's capital, Juba, to meet with government officials there.

IGAD says the ongoing talks are focused on achieving a cease-fire and determining the status of pro-rebel officials detained by the government last month.

The rebels are insisting the detainees be released. The government said Tuesday it can only release them after "legal procedures" are carried out.

The violence in South Sudan has killed more than 1,000 people and forced about 200,000 from their homes.



Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir visited South Sudan on Monday, and pledged his government will not support the rebels.

In an interview with VOA Sudan's Minister of Information Ahmed Bilal was asked if Khartoum will send any forces across the border.



"We will not actually. Unless, of course, the peace council in the AU (African Union) considered this and decided to send troops or something like that. But now, separately, we will not send any troops to the South."



South Sudan's unrest began December 15 when renegade soldiers attacked an army headquarters. President Kiir accused former vice president Riek Machar of a coup attempt. Machar has called for the army to overthrow the president.

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

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