Voice of America (Washington, DC)

26 January 2014

South Sudan: Cease-Fire 'Very Shaky' - Norwegian FM

South Sudan's government and rebels on Thursday signed a ceasefire agreement, pledging to halt fighting within 24 hours and end five weeks of bitter ... ( Resource: Rebels and Government in South Sudan Sign Ceasefire

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende calls the newly signed cease-fire in South Sudan "very shaky," but says it is possible for the country to get back on track.

After talks Sunday in neighboring Sudan, Brende told the French News Agency that South Sudan needs the right verification and monitoring tools for the cease-fire. He called for the release of political prisoners and a coalition government that includes what he calls all "relevant ethnic groups."

Both the South Sudan government and rebels accuse the other of violating the cease-fire signed Thursday. The deal is supposed to end weeks of fighting that started with a December gun battle at army headquarters between soldiers and renegade troops.

President Salva Kiir accused former vice president Riek Machar of attempting a coup. Machar denied the charge.

Norway, along with Britain and the United States, helped broker a 2005 peace deal between Sudan and South Sudan that led to independence for the South in 2011.

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