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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.

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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs