31 December 2013

South Sudan: Ethiopia Ready to Host South Sudan Peace Talks

Some representatives from the warring factions in South Sudan have arrived in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. They will soon begin negotiations as part of a regional effort to end the conflict, according to Dina Mufti, Ethiopia's foreign ministry spokesman.

The African Union, United Nations, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), as well as other international human rights groups have demanded an immediate end to the South Sudan conflict.

The U.N. says the fighting has left more than 1,000 people dead and displaced tens of thousands.

IGAD backed Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to mediate the peace negotiations to help defuse the tension to end the conflict in neighboring South Sudan.

"It is the outcome of the long and serious efforts by the regional governments and definitely... the bottom line will be the negotiations and the stoppage of the war, the dialogue and the lasting peace for [our] South Sudan brothers and sisters," said Mufti.

The heads of state in the region pressured both parties to end the bloodshed and negotiate to stabilize the security situation in the country.

"The regional leaders put diplomatic pressure and played very constructive role earlier on either in the form of IGAD foreign ministers and IGAD leaders as well. This [talks] should also be the extension of that exercise," said Mufti.

He says South Sudan neighbors including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda have received refugees as they continue to evacuate their citizens trapped due to the conflict.

"Apart from the ceasefire and dialogue proposed by the leaders, there are also concerns for refugees and civilians," said Mufti. "The neighboring countries are taking their nationals from the [conflict] areas like we have been taking out Ethiopian nationals from Malakal and other cities. Both the diplomatic exercise and helping the plight of civilians [are] going on."

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