Home | News    Tuesday 14 January 2014

S. Sudan peace talks resume as parties uphold prerequisite

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

January 13, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - Diplomatic efforts aimed at ending nearly a month of violence in South Sudan is facing series of challenges as the two conflicting parties fail to bridge their political differences.

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Face-to-face talks between the South Sudanese government and rebels resumed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday 13 January 2014 (Photo AFP/Carl De Souza)

Negotiating teams representing the South Sudanese government and rebels resumed face-to-face talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday.

The resumption of talks, which stalled last week amid disagreement over the terms of a ceasefire, followed a meeting between regional mediators, the US envoy and rebel leader Riek Machar in an undisclosed location inside South Sudan in a bid to convince him to sign a ceasefire agreement.

"We engaged him [Machar] for over three hours in trying to move him toward agreeing to a cessation of hostilities agreement”, said US envoy to the two Sudans, Donald Booth.

Mediators from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), briefed the two sides on the discussions they had in South Sudan after returning to Addis Ababa’s Sheraton Hotel, where talks are being held.

Direct talks are due to continue on Tuesday, with mediators expressing hopes that ceasefire deal could be reached by the end of the week.

TALKS DEADLOCKED

Mediators said while there has been some progress on peace negotiations, the possibility of achieving it on ground remains out of reach as both sides continue to maintain the preconditions set since they arrived for talks 10 days ago.

A source from the rebel negotiating team told Sudan Tribune on Monday that a ceasefire agreement would be signed “only and only if” the central government releases 11 political prisoners who are being held in connection wit an alleged a failed coup attempt in the capital, Juba, last month.

The source confirmed that Machar has rejected a request by mediators during their latest visit in South Sudan to accept the cessation of hostilities before the release of political leaders.

Government spokesperson Michael Makuei told journalists that the political detainees must answer the charges at trial and any decision to free them would be up to the court.

"Talks are leading nowhere because both sides have maintained their respective preconditions", an observer told Sudan Tribune.

With existing differences continuing to thwart efforts at securing a speedy truce, Booth and regional mediators have vowed to maintain pressure on both sides to seal peace deal.

While the issue of political prisoners remains among Machar’s primary concern, mediators said he had also expressed concerns over Uganda’s military intervention in the South Sudan conflict.

When visited last week by regional mediators political detainees said their release shouldn’t be a precondition for ceasefire talks in Addis Ababa.

SOME PROGRESS

Booth said Machar "still had some concerns, but I think we made some progress in allaying some of his concerns particularly in regard to the benefit that he would get out of a ceasefire agreement, which is basically that it is critical in order to get to the political talks to address the underlying causes of the conflict".

The UN Security Council (UNSC) has urged South Sudanese president Salva Kiir to free the political prisoners, something he continues to resist.

Fighting erupted in Juba on 15 December after clashes between rival factions of the presidential guards. The conflict has since spread throughout the country, with forces loyal to the president and those aligned with Machar fighting for control of key areas.

The UN estimates some 1,000 people have died and about 230,000 have been displaced in the conflict so far.

(ST)

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  • 14 January 2014 06:23, by omoni jr.

    All the international communities dispute and rubbished kiir’s false claims of failed coup, except Uganda that keep supporting kiir about it.
    Deal or No deal !!!

    repondre message

  • 14 January 2014 06:36, by Mapuor

    We are victims of witchcraft.What comes to your mind when a PhD holder continue to believe in witchcraft?Most Western educated people still hover uneasily between the two worlds of modern sciences and their ancestral gods.Since Riek Macar scraped his PhD with bribes,he shouldn’t be considered as an intellectual in the modern context.The man is a witchdoctor who believes 100% in witchcraft.

    repondre message

  • 14 January 2014 06:42, by Knight In Shining Armor

    Dr. Riak, you are right, we want Uganda out of S. Sudan. Death of Dr. Garang is related to Ugandan helicopter, some of us have phobia to anything with the name “Uganda” labeled on it, leave alone Ugandan helicopter gunships raining bullets on our innocent civilians. Kiir’s legend is buried with involvement of Uganda and Al-Bashir in this internal party conflict.

    repondre message

  • 14 January 2014 06:50, by Knight In Shining Armor

    come down, you are burning yourself too much. Kiir is history, do not cry for spilled mild. we still have plenty of cows, milk will always be there but ask yourself Why did Kiir send two delegation to BT Jashua of Nigeria on Dec. 28th 2013 to pray for him? Did you watch that YouTube move, Kiir is going get captured after great loss of life

    repondre message

  • 14 January 2014 06:55, by Knight In Shining Armor

    mapuor please, come down, you are burning yourself too much. Kiir is history, do not cry for spilled milk. we still have plenty of cows, milk will always be there but ask yourself Why did Kiir send two delegation to BT Jashua of Nigeria on Dec. 28th 2013 to pray for him? Did you watch that YouTube move, Kiir is going get captured after great loss of life

    repondre message

  • 14 January 2014 07:00, by Knight In Shining Armor

    Mapuor, this is what makes our leader Kiir go crazy, check this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1bDzJL99LY or go to youtube and type leader captured South Sudan prophecy. This is not from Nuer Ngundeng, it is from TB Jashua of Nigeria. Kiir himself is aware it and he want take as many life down with him. be careful, you could be one of the victims.

    repondre message

  • 14 January 2014 07:12, by Knight In Shining Armor

    Mapuor, after watching the movie, go and ask the president when is he going to go to Nigeria to meet TB Jashua? he send the first lady in October last year but, the first lady did not meet TB Jashua. He promised to go by himself soon. you see, Kiir committed heinous crimes that we do not know anything about it and his is seeking forgiveness from God and his heart is not at rest at all.

    repondre message

  • 14 January 2014 14:56, by Majongdit

    Mi Diit,
    Which Juba are you talking about? The same Juba ou left? Hahahaha, you will leave Juba the same way you left it in December.

    repondre message

  • 14 January 2014 15:00, by Majongdit

    Mi Diit,
    Which Juba are you talking about? The same Juba you left? Hahahaha, you will leave Juba the same way you left it in December.

    repondre message

  • 14 January 2014 15:09, by Majongdit

    Mi Diit,
    Which Juba are you talking about? The same Juba you left? Hahahaha, you will leave Juba the same way you left it in December.

    repondre message

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