News / Africa

US, Partners Push for Peace in South Sudan

This picture released by the Kenya presidential service shows Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking during a press conference with the seven detainees released to his custody by South Sudan President after addressing a press conference at State House in Nairobi, Jan. 29, 2014.
This picture released by the Kenya presidential service shows Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking during a press conference with the seven detainees released to his custody by South Sudan President after addressing a press conference at State House in Nairobi, Jan. 29, 2014.
Marthe van der Wolf
The international community is urging South Sudan's government to release the last four political detainees it arrested as the country erupted in violence last month.  The release would likely advance the peace process in South Sudan but that peace talks will continue even if the four men remain in custody.

Envoys of the United States, Britain, Norway, China and the European Union met Thursday with the East African regional bloc IGAD, which has been mediating peace talks between South Sudan’s fighting factions.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said South Sudan's release of seven political detainees on Wednesday should be followed by the release of the other four.

“The recent step to release seven of the eleven persons detained by the government of South Sudan can be used to create momentum and a political process, and at the same time we continue to urge the release of the remaining four detainees,” he said.

Two agreements were signed last week.  One called for a cessation of hostilities, while the other dealt with the eleven opposition members who have spent more than six weeks in detention.

Burns said a full implementation of the agreements was needed as South Sudan cannot afford to miss this chance for peace.

“The truth is South Sudan, both its people and its leaders, have an important moment of choice before them.  Whether to choose to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Cessation of Hostilities agreement, and to build on it, and enduring to end the violence -- or to miss that opportunity and to allow mistrust and violence to overcome that chance,” he said.

The cessation of hostilities was supposed to take effect last week Friday.  IGAD said the reports that fighting continued were not completely true and that the agreement was largely holding.

The South Sudanese rebels want the detainees released so they can take part in the political phase of the peace talks, due to start in Ethiopia on February 7.

IGAD’s lead mediator, Seyoum Mesfin, said that whether or not the last four detainees were released, the political talks would have to start.

“There is no alternative to the peace process and dialogue, both parties recognize this and they have said this and agreed upon during the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement,” said Mesfin.

Ministers of the IGAD countries will meet on the sidelines of the African Union summit Friday to outline the details for the political process.

Clashes in South Sudan broke out mid-December, with army troops loyal to President Salva Kiir fighting anti-government forces.  

The government accused Kiir's rival Riek Machar of leading a coup attempt, but it is not clear whether the rebels are united under Machar, who remains in hiding.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
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 Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
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