News / Africa

    South Sudan Peace Talks Postponed Over Off-Color Comment

    FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) hold a priest's hands before signing an earlier peace agreement in Addis Ababa May 9, 2014.
    FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) hold a priest's hands before signing an earlier peace agreement in Addis Ababa May 9, 2014.
    Philip Aleu
    The latest round of peace talks for South Sudan was delayed Tuesday after the government objected to President Salva Kiir and opposition chief Riek Machar being called "stupid" by an official from the bloc mediating the talks, and the opposition said the negotiations were not inclusive enough.

    South Sudan Foreign Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin urged Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to take action against Mahboub Maalim, the executive secretary of IGAD, which is brokering the talks, after he was quoted in media reports as calling Mr. Kiir and Machar "stupid" for thinking they can win the months-long conflict in South Sudan on the battlefield.

    Mr. Kiir's spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, said IGAD must apologize "because it was clear that Mahboub has insulted the principals."

    "There is no need for such a low-ranking official to insult the head of state. Even if he was the president of IGAD, he cannot equate himself with the head of the state because IGAD comprises of countries that are sovereign... whoever works with IGAD must respect heads of state,” he said.

    Wek said another reason the talks were delayed is because opposition delegates did not arrive on time. The latest round of talks was supposed to begin on Monday.

    Opposition spokesman Hussein Mar Nyuot said the opposition was also angered by the off-color statement made by Maalim, but said the main reason the opposition boycotted the talks was because they felt they were not fully inclusive.
     
    "So many voices are not represented here," Mar Nyuot  said.

    "The civil society which are supposed to be here, the voices of the victims, other political parties that actually fled the country and all these people are not represented in this. We want all the stakeholders of South Sudan to attend these peace talks so that we could actually reach a durable peace," he said.

    Mar Nyuot said the opposition would be willing to let the talks go ahead once their concerns have been addressed. He said his side is reviewing new proposals from the mediators and will reach a decision soon.

    Wek said the government is not pulling out of the talks but wants IGAD officials to act responsibly.
     
    “We don’t want to continue fighting. So we don’t have any alternative to negotiating a peace settlement ...  but at the same time, we shouldn’t be taken for granted," he said.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    June 19, 2014 12:33 AM
    Mr. Kiir thinks that a head of state cannot be called "stupid". Well Mr. President I strongly believe that leaders who murder,rape and plunder their own people in the name of tribe are narrow-minded morons.

    by: Lisa from: Tx
    June 18, 2014 1:42 AM
    Well done IGAD, i once said their is no law against studipity, so why splm are mad? IGAD guys are tried of splm tricks. Why the opposition are not mad, about the statement from IGAD? instead they are saying that the country is not well represented, because if you look at this talk clearly all civil society are splm. Is that commonsense or studipity on behalf of the opposition ? Look now who is studip, and who want peaceful resettlement in the country ?. By the way we all know that this stupid war started by kiir government, so be studip splm now every body know that south Sudan government are ful of idiots.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.