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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid