Voice of America (Washington, DC)

South Sudan Warring Factions Move Toward Peace Talks

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The monies "will for all intents and purposes be available immediately to our partners" on the ground in South Sudan, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Hopkins told VOA News.

U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, was in Addis Ababa Friday for the start of the peace talks, she said.

He and Secretary of State John Kerry "continue to urge President Kiir and former Vice President Machar to reach an immediate cessation of hostilities, most importantly allow full and unfettered humanitarian access, and to work to resolve their differences peaceful and democratically," Hopkins said.

"We remain very committed to peace and stability in South Sudan," she said.

The United Nations said that aid agencies in South Sudan are scaling up their work, especially in towns that have been struck by violence and in rural sites where civilians have sought safety.

"The largest site of civilians was in Awerial, Lakes State, where up to 76,000 people have gathered," Jens Laerke of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told reporters in Geneva on Friday.

Laerke said aid agencies are providing food, non-food items and basic healthcare in Awerial, and are stepping up efforts to make clean water and latrines available.

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