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S. Sudan’s president accepts cessation of hostilities agreement

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January 19, 2014 (JUBA/ADDIS ABABA) - South Sudanese president Salva Kiir accepted on Saturday a cessation of hostilities agreement with rebels who have been fighting to remove him from power for over a month.

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South Sudan president Salva Kiir sits in his office in Juba December 16, 2013 (Reuters/Hakim George)

Under the terms of the draft deal, which the two sides immediately accepted, the fighters from both sides are expected to stop engaging in physical fighting, paving the way for further negotiations on how to resolve the crisis that started on December 15.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediation team handed over a final draft agreement on a cessation of hostilities to the two sides on Friday evening, expecting them to respond on Saturday with either acceptance of the recommendation or rejection of the draft.

The breakthrough comes as the South Sudanese army announced on Saturday that it had recaptured Bor, the Jonglei state capital from rebels. Bor had been under control of the rebels for around three weeks after rebels regained control of the key town for the second time since the conflict began.

Following the army’s claim to have retaken Bor on Saturday, Juba’s negotiating team in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, told Sudan Tribune that the South Sudanese government is ready to sign ceasefire agreement within the next few days.

"We are now ready to sign agreement on cessation of hostilities if the rebel side is ready for similar commitment" a representative of the government, who asked for anonymity, said.

Yien Mathew Chol, an assistant spokesman for the rebel delegation in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, stated that the document includes four areas.

"First, there is provision for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Second, the agreement calls on the two parties to stop media campaigns and issuing propaganda statements against each other. Third, it calls for allowing humanitarian access to assist victims of the conflict. Fourth, it calls for the withdrawal of foreign troops from South Sudan. We therefore accepted the draft as the leadership of the negotiating team", he said.

Chol said the leadership of the rebel group immediately approved the document, because there were elements of objectivity in the draft by the mediators, claiming the two sides had accepted the deal.

The head of the government delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial, held consultations in Juba on Saturday with President Kiir in the presence of the information minister Michael Makuei and the president’s spokesman, Ateny Awek Ateny.

The team of IGAD mediators chaired by Ethiopian former foreign minister, Seyoum Mesfin, traveled to Juba on Thursday for further consultations with the South Sudan leader after peace talks between the two rivals continued to stall over issue of the 11 political prisoners who have been held since the start of the crisis.

Nhial confirmed that the government had agreed to the ceasefire, saying he expected it to be signed after his return to Addis Ababa. He said that the stipulation on the withdrawal of foreign forces was well received on their side, which encouraged them to agree to the deal.

Despite earlier denials, Kampala and Juba have now admitted that Ugandan forces have fought alongside the South Sudanese army (SPLA) in countering the rebellion.

The regional mediators were expected to return to Addis Ababa on Saturday to push the ceasefire agreement to be signed by the two parties and end over a month-old bloody fighting between the army and forces loyal to Kiir’s former deputy Riek Machar.

As government forces gain momentum - they also retook Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state, just over a week ago - some observers believe that a deal over the next few says has become more likely.

Direct talks continued in Addis Ababa on Saturday over a final draft proposal presented by IGAD mediators on a cessation of hostilities. Both sides have agreed on the final draft proposal but differences still exist over some of the wording in the final peace document.

If the two parties manage to sign truce they will then enter into dialogue on releasing the 11 pro-rebel political figures who remain detained on alleged accusations of links with last month’s fighting in Juba, which the government claims was a failed coup attempt.

After conflict within the military began in the capital it spread to Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states with significant sections of the army defecting.

The violence has claimed the lives of close to 10,000 people, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG), and forced half a million people to flee their homes.

The UN has accused both sides of committing war crimes and human right abuses.

The South Sudanese government on Saturday categorically denied allegations that its forces were involved in any crimes against civilians, despite reports to the contrary by groups such as Human Rights Watch.

(ST)

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  • 19 January 05:45, by what the hell

    at last they have come to agreement without realist of the prisoners and the government under control, but very sad a lot of life have been lost for no reason at all i done know where is Riek gone go after this

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  • 19 January 05:49, by Mapuor

    Hahahaha now it has become clear that many generals in Bilfam are fifth column. Bravo Garang Mabil.Bravo presidential guards, bravo Ugandan forces.Mr president just demobilize all those generals, promote new ones with care and caution.SPLA Oyee.Bol Akot Oyee.Mayardit Oyeee.

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    • 19 January 05:57, by choldit

      Replace SPLA generals with Uganda so that Dinka will be protected from Nuer by Uganda army forever, is that what u mean? U shameless pple u betrayed this nation and sold it to foreigners for the protection of ur tribe. Now u devalued our gallant army, the SPLA believe u gonna pay dearly! We all know what the Nuer are and the whole world know them that they are the real south Sudanese.

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      • 19 January 06:08, by zulu

        Chol Jr.
        It is the Nuer under Riek who have waged war against the State. Not against the Dinka. For to hate a Dinka to govern Sout Sudan is purely naive and plainly stupid. Any ethnic group has a right to govern. But traitors like Riek are not worthy

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        • 20 January 05:42, by choldit

          Zulu, were u in Juba at the starting of this war? The Nuer didn’t go door to for killing of dinkas children n women but Dinkas militias in organised by Paul Malong Awan, Aleu A. Aleu, Salva Mathok, Kuol Manyang n Mrs. President Kirr Museveni overed as republic guard when door by door killing the Nuer n in process they killed foreigners when they failed to answer thinking they Nuer.

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      • 19 January 06:28, by Majongdit

        Choldit,
        You even know in your heart very very well and the whole world knows very well that the Nuer are nothing to Dinka. What is there is that if Dinka accepts to fight Nuer as a tribe there would be disaster. That is what we a trying to avoid.

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        • 19 January 07:07, by Wicdail

          Only Kirr Dinka will never understand that Dr. Machar is not and will never be a war criminal. He could have already faced ICC 10 years ago, if the 1991 Bor civilians massacre was qualified him with war crimes and crimes against humanity. In other words, those crimes committed during straggle, are not valid against any former rebel leader including Kirr. However, Kirr and his thugs will not---

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          • 19 January 07:10, by Wicdail

            Coun. escape these crimes they committed against Nuer innocents civilians in Juba.

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        • 20 January 05:28, by choldit

          Majondit, Chol a, Zulu n rest against SPLA Gallant but in favour of invading force of Uganda M7, plse knw we valued ever SPLA dead or a life their decision to protect this nation from inter/extern forces. We knw every SPLA on the side of genocidal govt is just doing his/her order frm tribalistic, Nuer killer, president mrs. kirr Museveni, who shld wear tobb instead of our uniform.

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      • 19 January 06:28, by Chol A.

        @choldit the whole world knows that you are real nyagat in South Sudan. Not fighters because you are very confused community but you never forget this lesson in Nuer history it will be more important lesson than your doom prophet Ngundeng.

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        • 19 January 07:29, by Wicdail

          I’m wondering whether Kiir supporters can really proud for Kirr? Or they just covering their shame? What if Nuer could have been in position of government? or if they have countries to supply them with logistics to wage war against Kirr regime? They (Nuer) shock Kirr’s Dinka kingdom to the core, while they have got all county resources plus foreign forces? I think the result could be a disaster

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          • 19 January 08:18, by Lotodo Awino Odug

            Is it true that Gatdeet is still alive? I was taken aback when that UN liar Sinakovic, said that he met and had talked to Gatdeet about human right violations. Iam of the conviction that this donkey Gatdet was killed by Pathiuyith liars.

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      • 19 January 09:56, by mathem jech amer

        Choldit
        all high posts for SPLA miused by Nuers will be given to Equatorians, the peace loving, not food lovers. Nuers officers should be given responsiblity at the village level.

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    • 19 January 10:06, by Bentiu son

      Mapuor Gogrial thief,don’t celebrate for nothing, Uganda Army UPDF are the one fighting with us not cowards Dinka SPLA soldiers but mind you we just’tactically withdrawn’from Bor Town as we did previously soon you n your mercenaries will run naked soon than later.We shall cont fight till our democracy,human rights,federalism,good governance n responsible government are finally realized.

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  • 19 January 07:50, by Marco Bul

    KIM DENG
    Hahaha.We will be waiting for you to fire the first shot again.But remember,what will follow is the burning of your tukuls and cattle rustling by Dinka and Murle combined.Where will you go since Omar has refused to fuck Riek’s expanded ass again?? Try something stupid this time and you will be fried.

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  • 19 January 09:45, by Majongdit

    Can someone please tell me why the two decade SPLA-Khartoum war was referred by Aabs as the Dinka war against the Arabs?

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  • 19 January 09:57, by Whortti Bor Manza

    WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO SALVA KIIR AFTER THE WITHDRAWAL OF FOREIGN FORCES FROM SOUTH SUDAN. THE UPDF AND THE JEM FROM DARFUR.

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    • 19 January 10:14, by Bentiu son

      Yeah I agreed with you buddy,Makuei Lueth told our pro democracy negotiator teams in Addis Ababa that’’you guys want foreign forces like UPDF, SRF,or JEM to withdraw from South Sudan so that you can defeat us militarily’’Waw! that naively statement show that Mueseveni is the President of both South Sudan n Uganda as well.Salva Kiir is just M7 puppet who has no decision of his own. M7 will reject i

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      • 19 January 16:51, by Lotodo Awino Odug

        we have killed ourselves and destroyed our towns for nothing, tribal affiliations will not solve our problems. forgiveness and compromise is the reason others nations are stable. injustice and corruption are every where in the world. Americans are suffering under world street, but they perservere because it will be hard to destroy what they had already built.

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