News / Africa

South Sudan Rebels Say Ready for Talks to End Unrest

Backers of South Sudan's ex-Vice President Riek Machar, shown here speaking to reporters at the U.N. in July, say they are ready to meet with President Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa -- but insist that one condition be met.Backers of South Sudan's ex-Vice President Riek Machar, shown here speaking to reporters at the U.N. in July, say they are ready to meet with President Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa -- but insist that one condition be met.
x
Backers of South Sudan's ex-Vice President Riek Machar, shown here speaking to reporters at the U.N. in July, say they are ready to meet with President Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa -- but insist that one condition be met.
Backers of South Sudan's ex-Vice President Riek Machar, shown here speaking to reporters at the U.N. in July, say they are ready to meet with President Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa -- but insist that one condition be met.
Andrew Green
Forces loyal to former South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar said Thursday they are prepared to take part in talks to end violence in the world's newest nation, as the head of the U.N. Mission in the country warned that the fighting was threatening South Sudan's existence as a nation.

James Gatdet Dak, a spokesman for Machar, said the ex-vice president, who has been in hiding since the unrest broke out on Dec. 15, "made it clear that he was ready for the talks" and has already named delegates to the negotiations, which would be held in Addis Ababa.

But Machar's side insisted that, before the talks go ahead,  President Salva Kiir must release 11 political leaders who were detained when the violence first erupted -- because the detainees are part of the negotiating team chosen by the former vice president.
The nationhood painstakingly built over decades of conflict and strife is at stake.

"So President Kiir will release them, then they will be ready to go to Addis for talks,” he said.

South Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Mawien Makol Arik said the government would not agree to the request to free the 11 political leaders.

"The president is willing to go into dialogue with this faction, provided there’s no pre-condition, which would include the release of the political prisoners,” he said.

Kiir met Thursday in Juba with African officials including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to try to chart a way out of the crisis, which erupted on Dec. 15 in what Kiir said was a failed coup orchestrated by Machar.  

South Sudan's Nationhood at Stake: UNMISS


Hilde Johnson, the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), commended the "intense and ongoing efforts of South Sudan's neighbors to seek a peaceful resolution to the current crisis" and called on the country's leaders to urgently "order their forces to lay down their arms and give peace a chance."

Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), holds a video press conference from Juba, South Sudan on Dec. 26, 2013.Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), holds a video press conference from Juba, South Sudan on Dec. 26, 2013.
x
Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), holds a video press conference from Juba, South Sudan on Dec. 26, 2013.
Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), holds a video press conference from Juba, South Sudan on Dec. 26, 2013.
"What has happened this last week has for so many South Sudanese brought back the nightmares of the past," Johnson told reporters via a video link from UNMISS headquarters in Juba.

"The nationhood painstakingly built over decades of conflict and strife is at stake. And for us, one of the most important things is to have those nightmares end," she said.

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom said "the detainees who are suspects of the coup" were one of several issues discussed by Kiir and his regional counterparts.

The group of detained political leaders got a visit early this week from U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, who said they are "secure and well taken care of" and wanted "to play a constructive role in ending the crisis through peaceful political dialogue and national reconciliation."

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

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