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South Sudan's Government Commits to Ceasefire



An African regional bloc says South Sudan's government has agreed to a cease-fire, a move that could help end ethnic fighting that has left more than 1,000 people dead this month.

The Inter Governmental Authority on Development announced the decision at the end of a Friday summit in Nairobi. The group urged supporters of President Salva Kiir's former deputy, Riek Machar, to make the same commitment.

Machar was not at the summit and had no immediate reaction to the announcement.

In another development Friday, the first reinforcements arrived for the U.N. peacekeeping force in South Sudan. The United Nations says an additional 72 Bangladeshi police officers came from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.



The U.N. Security Council voted last week to temporarily increase its troops in South Sudan from 8,000 to nearly 14,000.

The violence in South Sudan broke out earlier this month, after President Kiir accused Machar of attempting a coup.

Machar says the violence was the result of a purge of Mr. Kiir's political rivals.

The violence quickly took on an ethnic dimension, with members of President Kiir's Dinka ethnic group fighting the Nuer group to which Machar belongs.

During Friday's summit, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called on both sides to seek compromise.



"We have a very small window of opportunity to secure peace which we urge all stakeholders to seize, including Riek Machar."



Mr. Kenyatta says the violence could threaten regional stability.



"If the present violence continues, and the violence on the ground leads to atrocities against civilians, it will create a global dynamic that will make it much more difficult for South Sudan and the region to reach a solution."



Earlier, President Kiir and Machar both said they were ready for dialogue, but the government rejected Machar's demand that detained opposition leaders be released first.

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