January 17, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediation team has handed over a final draft agreement on a cessation of hostilities to the two warring parties in South Sudan on Friday evening.
- 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)
The Sudanese member of the three member mediation, Mohamed Ahmed al-Dabi told the Khartoum-based private TV channel the two South Sudanese parties received a final document for a comprehensive cessation of hostilities, stressing that the mediation listened to the points of view of the two parties on the different issues.
"We expect the two belligerents will give their response on Saturday", Al-Dabi added.
South Sudanese government forces loyal to president Salva Kiir and troops loyal to the former vice-president, Riek Machar, are fighting since the 15 December, seeking to control strategic town and oil production areas in the country.
So town like Bor, Malakal and Bentiu have switched hands several times between the government and rebel forces. Recent reports from the ground say forces loyal to the former vice-president are controlling Bor and Malakal while the government army retook Bentiu from their hands.
In statements to Reuters on Friday, South Sudanese defence minister Kuol Manyang Juuk said that Machar has no control over rebel fighters as he used a Nuer spiritual leader named Dak Kueth to mobilise them.
"(Machar) is not in control of these people. So even if a peace agreement is signed, or cessation of hostilities, these people who are not under the control of Machar will continue creating insecurity for the people and government", said Juuk, who was the former governor of Jonglei state.
"We cannot make a unilateral ceasefire because it is they (the rebels) who are attacking the civil population and government positions," he added.
Al-Dabi said the proposed document is clearly worded and includes important themes centred on an immediate cessation of hostilities, humanitarian aspects and to stop media campaigns.