Ethiopia: Direct Talks Between South Sudanese Rivlas to Begin Sunday

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Earlier on Saturday, rebel representatives told reporters that direct talks had been delayed until an agenda that would bridge their differences is set out by IGAD mediators and is accepted by both parties.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, is attempting to broker a deal to end weeks of conflict that has killed over 1,000 people and forced tens of thousands to flee their home.

The two sides have so far only held separate talks with IGAD mediators, who are trying to lay the ground for face-to-face talks.

Meanwhile heavy fighting has continued between the army and soldiers who have mutinied. Government claims that the army is advancing to regain control of the capitals of Jonglei and Unity state - Bor and Bentiu respectively - have been strongly denied by the rebels.

Machar has claimed his forces are moving towards the capital Juba, a claim dismissed by the government.

The leader of the South Sudanese delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial, told Sudan Tribune that there were "no direct discussions" on Saturday but added that his team had met with mediators.

He did not say whether the mediators have set a time for face-to-face talks to commence.

Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations told Sudan Tribune on Saturday that the two sides have submitted their positions to the mediators.

After studying the positions of both sides, sources say, the chief mediator, Seyoum Mesfin - a former Ethiopian foreign minister - decided bring the chief negotiators together to harmonise and streamline the agenda.

After one hour of discussion, Nhial Deng Nhial and Taban Deng Gai decided to narrow the agenda to only cessation of hostilities, which other issues to be addressed after a ceasefire is reached.

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