News / Africa

    S. Sudan Warring Parties Ready for Another Round of Talks

    FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) exchange signed peace agreement documents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 9, 2014.
    FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) exchange signed peace agreement documents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 9, 2014.
    Gabe Joselow

    New peace talks between South Sudan's warring parties have been delayed by at least a day, as the two sides prepare for another round of negotiations.  Hopes for a lasting peace are pinned to the process, which has repeatedly failed to end the seven-month conflict.

    The talks between South Sudan's government and the rebel opposition were scheduled to resume Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

    FILE - South Sudanese information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Jan. 5, 2014.FILE - South Sudanese information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Jan. 5, 2014.
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    FILE - South Sudanese information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Jan. 5, 2014.
    FILE - South Sudanese information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Jan. 5, 2014.


    South Sudan government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth says negotiators, just getting back to work after the Eid holiday break, needed more time to prepare for the talks.  But he says they do expect to have a team ready in the coming days.

     
    The negotiations were initially due to resume last month, but were delayed because of opposition demands that civil society and diaspora groups be allowed to take part as stakeholders.
     
    Makuei says the government has no issue with those demands.
     
    "For us, as the government, we don't care as to who participates and who does what.  What we want is peace.  So if increasing the number of the participants and so forth or the stakeholders will bring peace so be it," he said.
     
    Two spokesmen for the opposition also confirmed the talks had been delayed at the government's request, but that their side is ready to resume negotiations when called.

    FILE - Thousands of people wait in the hot sun near the air drop zone in Leer, South Sudan, July 5, 2014.FILE - Thousands of people wait in the hot sun near the air drop zone in Leer, South Sudan, July 5, 2014.
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    FILE - Thousands of people wait in the hot sun near the air drop zone in Leer, South Sudan, July 5, 2014.
    FILE - Thousands of people wait in the hot sun near the air drop zone in Leer, South Sudan, July 5, 2014.

    Tens of thousands of people have been killed in South Sudan since a political conflict between President Salva Kiir and his main rival Riek Machar descended into inter-ethnic violence in December.

    ​The two sides have agreed to three separate cease-fire agreements in talks organized by the East African group of nations IGAD, but all of the deals have been violated soon after signing.

     
    David Deng, research director for the South Sudan Law Society, says there is measured optimism about these talks, despite their failure to produce a lasting deal so far.
     
    "I think people are sober in terms of how they assess the possibilities for peace coming out of the process, but at the same time hopeful and I think aware that there's no other game in town and there's a lot riding on this process," he said.
     
    An agreement in June called for a transitional government that was to be established by the second week of August.  But, because of delays to the negotiations and continued fighting, that deadline is unlikely to be met.
     
    Deng says in order for the two sides to move toward substantive matters of reconciliation, there must first be a lasting ceasefire.
     
    "A very important thing to watch out for is the responses of the groups on the ground in the coming days and weeks. And if we can see them hold off in terms of aggressive action toward one another, then hopefully that can leave enough room for parties to begin engaging on some of these political questions moving forward," he said.
     
    According to the United Nations, more than one million South Sudanese have been displaced by violence since the conflict began, while aid agencies have warned that some parts of the country are at risk of falling into famine.
     

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    Comments
         
    by: William Lual from: Az
    July 31, 2014 6:06 AM
    Please Mr.President and Dr. Riek except peace our people were suffering for long in the hands of Arab and now in your owned hand. Give peace a chance and stops the bleeding . We are tried of war without courses and justication. Please Lord have mercy to the children of Cush. Give our leaders piece of mind and blessed the heart to agree on peace and love to their people.

    by: Dengtaath from: Greater Akobo state
    July 31, 2014 3:12 AM
    It will be resumed sucessfuly but if government does not stop bring stakeholders to the table it is going to the same like the other talk failed last with no conclusion
    Remember government bombardment of rebel position will lead to attack from rebel and peace talk may not go well.

    by: Lisa from: Tx
    July 30, 2014 6:01 PM
    Please Jesus, let their be a new chapter we need a change in the country, so that the killing of the innocent stop. Let salva accept that he can not bring peace but to step aside. Divine mercy here my prayers. Let Dr riek lead your people for this time, you know his heart better.no more politicking but a vote for peace .

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