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China Mediates Peace Talks on South Sudan

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L), Tedros Adhanom, former Ethiopia's Foreign Minister, and Chair of the IGAD Council of Ministers and Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti (C) after a meeting to support the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-led South Sudan peace process in Khartoum January 12, 2015.

China has mediated talks between South Sudan's warring factions, winning pledges from the rivals to speed up the country's peace process.

South Sudanese officials say the two sides agreed in Khartoum Monday to accelerate negotiations on forming a transitional government and to work to end hostilities.

Sudanese Foreign Minster Ali Karti said the talks were initiated by his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, who is visiting Sudan's capital, Khartoum.

The meeting comes ahead of a summit organized by the East African regional group, IGAD, in Ethiopia on Sunday, aimed at ending the fighting in South Sudan.

China has invested heavily in South Sudan's oil production and has committed combat troops to be part of a United Nations peacekeeping force in the country.

On Sunday, Wang defended China's mediation efforts in South Sudan. He said the mediation is the duty of a responsible world power, and not because of China's own interests.

South Sudan has endured more than a year of fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to his former vice president, Riek Machar. Support has fallen largely along ethnic lines, with the Dinka backing the president and the Nuer supporting Machar.

The fighting has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than a million people in impoverished South Sudan.

Multiple rounds of peace talks in Ethiopia's capital have failed to halt the conflict.