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S. Sudan abandons peace talks with defected army general

June 16, 2014 (JUBA) - The South Sudanese government says it has abandoned negotiations with the army general who recently defected to rebels led by former vice president, Riek Machar.

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South Sudan’s presidential spokesperson speaking during a press conference in Khartoum on 2 March 2014 (Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP)

“Yes, the idea has been dropped. It did not work. A person of such a high caliber of the vice president cannot talk to the caliber of Dau Aturjong”, Ateny Wek Ateny, the spokesperson for the presidency told Sudan Tribune Sunday.

His reaction came in the wake an initial plan by government send the country’s vice-president, James Wani Igga and the presidential advisor on legal affairs, Telar Riing Deng as emissaries to negotiate for the return of the former commander of the army’s sixth division.

It is still unclear as to what necessitated the change of plan after the defected general declined to meet Ateny whom president Salva Kiir had officially delegated to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

POPULAR UPRISING

Gen. Aturjonh recently called for popular uprising against the Juba government, which he claimed was struggling to survive and remain in power through reliance on its ethnic allies.

Speaking exclusively to Sudan Tribune on Friday, the defected army officer said time was ripe for South Sudanese to openly come out and make bold decisions against president Kiir’s regime.

The general announced his switch to the opposition led by Machar in Nairobi, Kenya last month.

(ST)