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Mediator says SPLM leaders in Kenya will fly to Ethiopia for talks

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February 11, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The 7 political leaders released from the South Sudanese capital, Juba, but further detained in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, will fly to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, by Tuesday in order to join the peace talks, announced IGAD chief mediator on Monday.

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IGAD’s chief mediator for South Sudan peace talks, Seyoum Mesfin, speaks to the press following the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement between the South Sudanese government and rebels in Addis Ababa on 23 January 2014 (Photo: AFP)

"The seven detainees are expected to arrive in Addis Ababa either today or latest tomorrow morning," said the former Ethiopian foreign minister and chief mediator for the IGAD-sponsored peace talks, Seyoum Mesfin, in a press conference held in the Ethiopian capital on Monday.

Ambassador Seyoum further called on Juba to release those who are still in detention in Juba saying "we commend the Republic of South Sudan for releasing the 7 detainees & call on them to expedite the status of the remaining ones".

Rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army In Opposition (SPLM/A In Opposition) on Monday boycotted the resumption of the talks, citing the non-implementation of the agreements previously signed, including Kenya’s refusal to allow the 7 leaders to travel to Addis.

They further demanded the release of the other 4 political detainees per the Addis Ababa agreement signed on 23 January between the two parties on the fate of the politicians.

The rebels also said the withdrawal of the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) was another prerequisite agreed upon before the second round of the talks could resume, calling on the UPDF to withdraw in honour of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement.

The chief mediator however did not shed light on whether the UPDF forces will withdraw from South Sudan in implementation of the agreement he mediated between the government and the rebels.

But Seyoum told reporters that the IGAD Monitoring and Verification Team (MVT) has visited the capital of Upper Nile state Malakal on Sunday to assess the military situation and see where to establish the monitoring posts.

In New York, the spokesperson for UN secretary-general, Martin Nesirky, said that the UN Mission in South Sudan facilitated the travel of the IGAD assessment team to Malakal, adding they also transported the MVT to the capital of Jonglei state on Monday.

Regarding the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement, Nesirky said the situation was "volatile" UNMISS.

UNMISS "has received reports of fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and anti-government forces in Thorgwang in Manyo County," he said, adding that in Bor "some government officials have begun returning to the town, as have civilians, but in limited numbers".

Attempting to reassure reporters about the possible rebels’ boycott of second poltical round of talks Mesfin watered down the content of their press release saying " it does not reflect the current reality we have with SPLM/A (in opposition)".

However key rebel officials in Addis Ababa refused to comment on what the statements of the chief mediator but stressed they are "still have a wait-and-see attitude."

On Sunday the ex-vice president, Riek Machar, now the rebel leader, questioned the neutrality of the Kenyan president by further detaining the released 7 leaders, wondering whether president Uhuru Kenyatta and South Sudanese president Salva Kiir had a secret agreement attached to the release of the detainees.

The rebels have already expressed doubts in the past weeks about the IGAD aptitude to broker the peace process when they refused any Ugandan role in the talks pointing to the Ugandan troops that are fighting them besides the government forces.

UN spokesperson on Monday said there are still some 75,000 civilians under the protection of UNMISS forces in its sites across the country.

(ST)

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  • 11 February 08:17, by Wicdail

    Without releasing those 4, this talk of peace will have a big hole. And that hole will grow bigger and bigger until when the peace collapse.

    repondre message

    • 11 February 08:33, by Mi diit

      Mrs. Akiir Mayardit and her husband Museveni must implement every provision in the two agreements, otherwise no time to waste on another fake talk. IGAD should put pressure on Juba and Kampala to implement the agreements first before another talk begins. Why should people agree and not implement? That will lose confidence and a waste of time, resources and energy.

      repondre message

      • 11 February 13:06, by Adodi Jotuwa

        They can be freely flown to Addis Ababa after they declared which side they belong. That’s what we wanna hear from the suspects. Nothing less, nothing more. Setting preconditions will never bail South Sudan out of this crisis. The cycle of violence will continue so long as Ethiopia or IGAD takes side instead of maintaining its neutrality. We want to hear/know what kind of pressure is given to....

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        • 11 February 13:09, by Adodi Jotuwa

          ....the warring parties if we’re all concerned about the massive destruction of lives, properties and human displacement carried out in Bor, Akobo, Malakal and Bentiu.

          repondre message

    • 11 February 08:43, by Tutbol

      The Govt of S Sudan should consider sacking Ethiopia from mediating & the negotiation be moved out of Ethiopia all gether. Ethiopia is supporting the armed rebellion against S Sudanese govt & its peoples. The govt of S Sudan should also start rounding up all Ethiopians in S Sudan & be shipped back to their prostitutes hell-hole.

      repondre message

      • 11 February 08:55, by Tutbol

        Our govt has let its be bullied by every piece of shit in our region & Ethiopia also wants to play a bully to S Sudan govt & its people, but our clowns in the govt are keeping quiet as always, hoping that the bullies will simply back off without being looked at in the eyes & told that their bullying would be reponded in kind.

        repondre message

  • 11 February 08:33, by Agutthon

    Contradiction after contradiction. First, it is the SPLA/M in Opposition, want prisoners release, doesn’t talk until UPDF withdrawal. UPDF and SPLA are two sides of the same coin. If deformed Riek accepts to talk to government which is fighting it then why continue to argue about UPDF? Perhaps the government should demand for disbandment of white army before talks.

    repondre message

    • 11 February 09:20, by choldit

      Aug?
      the Nuer White Army are fighting a revenge war for their relatives President MRS. Kirr massacred in Juba. in ur mind what UPDF is fighting the Nuer for? protect Dinka tribe from the Nuer or their source of food as said by their leader M7. now billions Dollars of south Sudan are confsticated by Ugandan govt demanding compensation of UPDF lost on ss war while the money take frm ss bank to safe

      repondre message

  • 11 February 08:38, by choldit

    It shld be an unwise decision for rebels to attend this round of talk if the previous agreed upon conditions are not met.eg the complete withdrawal of Ugandan force in South Sudan, the release of all detainees(11)n not to another remotely control country by ss but where detainees want togo,n meet any other condition agreed upon b4 2nd the second round. And how political parties be neutral while ..

    repondre message

    • 11 February 08:50, by Malakal county Simon

      choldit
      DR Machar should put withdrawal of Uganda forces and Sudanese rebel, as thier first condition before any peace talk resume.... Then demand the release of other four detainee’s and from there president Kiir should step-down, then form a new interim government until 2015 election!!!!

      repondre message

      • 11 February 09:09, by choldit

        Malakal, the SPLM/AIO is so weak on caring out or reinforcing or follow up their demands with IGAD. the remained 4 detainees n the withdrawal of UPDF shld have been implemented long b4 preparation for 2nd rnd of peace talk else their stand shld be known to IGAD n international community. those demands u numerated shld be their best choices.

        repondre message

  • 11 February 08:51, by choldit

    contine... while some alrdy are attending on the ss govt side like Lam Akol and the other gentleman who claimed to represent other ss p. parties. SS P.parties shld oppose or accept that they are being represented in the talk by that man. civil society, Youth, Women and other bodies should first make sure that they are not being use as govt tools in nation issue by selecting nationalist individual

    repondre message

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