News / Africa

S. Sudan President Willing to Hold Talks with Rival

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir gestures during a news conference in Juba, Dec. 18, 2013.
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir gestures during a news conference in Juba, Dec. 18, 2013.
VOA NewsMargaret Besheer
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir says he is willing to hold talks with the former vice president he accuses of leading a coup attempt against him.

The U.N. estimates that up to 500 people have been killed in four days of fighting in South Sudan.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed Kiir’s statement that he is open to dialogue with opposition leader Riek Machar in order to end deadly fighting that erupted on Sunday.

“I spoke to President Salva Kiir yesterday morning, urging him to do everything possible he can to end the violence and to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law," Ban told reporters. "I also impressed on him the need to resume dialogue with the political opposition. I welcome the reports this morning that President Salva Kiir is willing to enter into such talks.”

The U.N. chief said the U.N. mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, is working to protect and assist some 20,0000 civilians who have fled the outbreak of violence in the capital, Juba, and have sought shelter at two U.N. compounds there.

UNMISS has also reported heavy fighting in the city of Bor, about 150 kilometers north of Juba, and says about 1,000 civilians have sought refuge at its compound there. Ban expressed concern about the spread of fighting.

"This is a political crisis, and urgently needs to be dealt with through political dialogue. There is a risk of this violence spreading to other States, and we have already seen some signs of this," he said.

The Sudan People's Liberation Army has called all soldiers to report to their general headquarters.

President Salva Kiir blames the alleged coup attempt on forces loyal to his former vice president, Riek Machar, who was was fired in July.

Observers have raised concerns a rift between Machar, from the Nuer ethnic group, and Mr. Kiir, a Dinka, could fuel tribal violence in South Sudan.

South Sudan's government said 10 people have been arrested for their alleged roles in the coup attempt. Machar remains at large.

Britain says it is withdrawing some embassy staff from South Sudan after the fighting spread to areas beyond the country's capital.

The British Foreign Office says its embassy in Juba, will remain open while some staff is withdrawn temporarily.

The U.N. mission in South Sudan has reported heavy fighting in the city of Bor, about 150 kilometers north of Juba.

There was also fighting overnight at a military base in Torit, southeast of the capital.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the people of South Sudan have sacrificed too much for their country to return to violence.

"Political differences need to be resolved by peaceful and democratic means and those have been hard fought for. The government should respect the rule of law and the people of South Sudan should be able to realize their full potential in peace," he said.

The U.S. State Department says it has evacuated three groups of U.S. citizens from South Sudan.

Ambassador Susan Page met Wednesday with President Kiir in Juba to discuss U.S. concern about the continued violence, increasing death toll, and growing humanitarian challenges.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Andrew oforma from: Nigeria
December 19, 2013 1:36 AM
This unabated violent is uncalled for. This is because only the none combatants (women and children ) are mostly bear the burnt. My position is that President Salva has to do what he can constitutionally to protect his country for turmoil, chaos etc.

by: JACKCITY TIMOTHY from: UPPER NILE STATE
December 18, 2013 2:40 PM
it is not good when people of s s are fighting among themselve let us build our new nation.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs