News / Africa

S. Sudan Talks Falter as Conflict Threatens to Spread

South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar addresses news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 12, 2014.
South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar addresses news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 12, 2014.
Gabe Joselow

The latest round of peace talks between South Sudan's warring factions has come to a standstill, dimming hopes that a comprehensive deal could be reached this week.

South Sudan's government and the rebel opposition failed to meet for scheduled talks in Addis Ababa Thursday, apparently because of opposition complaints about the negotiation process.

The two sides have committed to peace talks to end a conflict that began in mid-December when a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his main rival Riek Machar turned violent.

Disagreements

But the opposition team has declined to participate in the discussions during the past two days, saying it wants to talk directly about ending hostilities before discussing political reforms. A previous agreement had called for the two sides to form a transitional government by an August 10 deadline, now just a few days away.

“For the government, we believe that we cannot bring peace without the rebels," said South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth, explaining that Juba cannot forge any new deal without the willing involvement of the opposition. "So we're here to negotiate peace and whatever time it takes, as long as the rebels accept to sit with us [at] the table we are capable of bringing peace.”

This is the fifth time since the conflict broke out the two sides have engaged in peace negotiations mediated by the East African regional group IGAD. Three previous cease-fire deals collapsed soon after signing, with each side blaming the other for violating the agreements.

Conflict could spread

Meanwhile, recent reports of violence near the border with Sudan have raised concerns that the conflict could soon expand.

The United Nations says at least five aid workers were killed Monday by a militia in Maban county of Upper Nile state.

The Nuba Reports media outlet, which focuses on the region, reports South Sudanese rebel forces loyal to Riek Machar have also been spotted near the border.

Ryan Boyette, Nuba Reports Executive Director, says that while details are difficult to confirm, it is believed that the opposition is in Maban to receive weapons from Sudan.

“There's no strategy for the [Sudan People's Liberation Movement] in opposition to be that close to the border near that location except to cross the border to get arms or to get supplies.”

South Sudan's government has long accused the rebels of receiving support from Khartoum, a charge the opposition has denied.

Refugees

Any increase in fighting along the Sudan-South Sudan border would put at risk some 125,000 Sudanese refugees living in South Sudan territory, having fled violence in Sudan's Blue Nile State.

Sudan's military also regularly targets rebel groups in the area that fought against Khartoum during the civil war that eventually led to South Sudan's independence in 2011.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lisa from: Tx
August 07, 2014 1:50 PM
Thanks voice of American, for keeping us informed about south Sudan. Some days ago i did said the government will blame the opposition. It might not be clear if the rebel forces are under Dr riek. We all know south Sudan forces are in that areas and also they are hunting for army who refuse to fight the rebels. why do you think that the opposition will talk peace when aid workers are killed because of being nuer. The only way to stop the on going war is for kiir to call for emergency in the country and he should step down or call for election towords the end of year, if he really care about the people. He will be respect by the whole world. Even God might forgive him this time. May God bless my country and its people.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid