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S. Sudan peace talks postponed over presence of foreign troops

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May 18, 2014 (JUBA) – Peace talks between South Sudan’s rival groups have been postponed until 29 May amid continued disagreements over the presence of foreign troops, rebels and government officials have said.

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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (L) and rebel leader Riek Machar (R) hold the hands of two clergymen during the opening prayer of the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement on 9 May 2014, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa (Photo: AFP/Zacharias Abubeker)

The delegations representing both sides are in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for peace talks, where they were discussing a file on reforms, transitional arrangements and the constitution in the hopes of signing a Declaration of Principles.

The talks are an attempt to resolve the five-month-old conflict, which has killed thousands and displaced more than 1.3 million people after political tensions turned violent in mid-December last year.

The fighting has pitted forces loyal to president Salva Kiir’s government against rebels allied to the former vice-president, Riek Machar, comprising of a loose coalition of armed civilians mobilised mainly on the basis of ethnic affiliations and defectors from the army.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the east African regional bloc mediating the peace process, has confirmed the postponement of talks.

The latest delay comes after the signing of a fresh peace agreement on 9 May following a face to face meeting between Kiir and Machar – their first since the conflict erupted.

Hussein Maar Nyuot, a key member of the rebel delegation, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that the latest postponement of the talks was necessitated by the government delegation’s refusal to accept calls for the withdrawal of foreign troops which continue to remain in the country against the provision of an earlier peace deal signed in January.

“The mediation team decided to postpone the negotiation because it was proving difficult to move ahead, because of the insistence of the government delegation not to accept withdrawal of the foreign troops,” said Nyuot.

“It is this arrogance that we could not agree on the security matters because of foreign troops which continue to remain inside the country,” he added.

Information minister Michael Makuei Lueth who speaks for the government delegation confirmed the adjournment of the talks, blaming the rebels for making “unnecessary demands”.

Ugandan troops were deployed to the country following the outbreak of violence to provide military support to the South Sudanese army (SPLA).

Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) says its troops will remain in South Sudan until IGAD deploys the proposed regional protection force.

The presence of foreign troops has been a contentious issue, with rebel forces accusing Uganda of meddling in the internal affairs of South Sudan.

Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia have also previously expressed their opposition to the presence of Ugandan troops in the new nation, with the latter saying their presence threatens regional peace and stability.

The South Sudanese government has also denied rebel claims that Sudanese rebels are fighting alongside the SPLA.

The denials followed the 8 May release of a report from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) which found Sudanese rebels from Darfur’s Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) had provided military support to government troops fighting rebellion in the country.

(ST)

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  • 19 May 06:31, by Bentiu son

    Dear international Community,EU,Troika,and South Sudanese citizens.Salva Kiir’s brutal regime has sold South Sudan to Ugandan under M7,We need to fight hard against those invaders in South Sudan.Salva genocidal regime does not want political settlement but military means to resolve the feudal war which he had created across the country.Salva won’t accept peace while M7 deadly hands still active.

    repondre message

    • 19 May 06:53, by Lotodo Awino Odug

      An increment on the dosages of firepower on the ground will help them understand that the government is serious about ending this war. present of foreign troops so far have no bearing on how the new arrangements will look like. unless if these groups still want to ignite another fighting after they leave.

      repondre message

      • 19 May 09:17, by Whortti Bor Manza

        Lotodo, You are dead wrong. If it were not because of the Ugandan UPDF, Kiir would now be in the dust bin of history. The SPLA is the weakest and the most brutal and savagery army in the region. SPLA is good at unleashing brutality on the poor civilians. Dinka gvt will always be that way. Equatorians and WBGS will always be lamenting.

        repondre message

      • 19 May 15:18, by Ito

        Ya jamaa,
        Some of us have been telling you again and again that the problem in South Sudan or in east africa is Dinka presence but some may pay deaf ear on this but the truth will soon come to everyone’s eyes. Everywhere you go whether is kenya, uganda, Rwanda etc, they will tell you that they don’t like people called Dinka, they are very bad. Unless this is realized, we are doom to fail.

        repondre message

      • 20 May 06:42, by Force 1

        Why go to Addis Ababa Ethiopia in the first place for peace talk? Is it because they had no idea of whether or not there were foreign forces in South Sudan? The article is as ridiculous as those who wrote it!

        repondre message

  • 19 May 07:21, by Positive Thinker

    The agreement signed in January, which has been reaffirmed by the two principals talk of of foreign troops to withdraw, any violation of that means the agreement is as well being violated. Let the foreign troops go and let peace come.

    repondre message

  • 19 May 08:39, by Jalaby

    You guys are hopeless case, being united with Sudan didn’t solve your problem separating yourself from Sudan and creating your own state didn’t solve your problem either and may be made it even worse than being united with north!
    You’re the problem, you’re the enemy of yourself and you will continue to kill yourself as ugly as hell because you don’t accept each other!

    repondre message

    • 19 May 09:28, by Whortti Bor Manza

      Jalaby,
      These are the traits inherited from the Northerners by the Dinka govt of Salva Kiir: Brutality, savagery, cold blood killings, lies, propaganda, conspiracy, intolerance of decent, manipulation, corruption, religious hegemony, tribalism and dictatorship. The North is primarily to blame for all these. Now Khartoum is full of Dinkas and Nuers.

      repondre message

  • 19 May 17:05, by Kim Deng
    • 19 May 17:52, by Mr Point

      If you follow that link and read the article you will see that 7.15 million South Sudanese civilians are at risk of hunger due to famine.
      Those at risk do not include Salva Kiir and his circle.

      repondre message

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