Voice of America (Washington, DC)

9 February 2014

South Sudan Peace Talks to Resume Monday

South Sudan's government and rebels on Tuesday began a fresh bid to to end their bitter conflict as a new round of peace talks were opened in the ... ( Resource: New South Sudan Peace Bid Opens in Ethiopia

Peace negotiations between South Sudan's warring factions will resume Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, according to Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Dina Mufti.

Officials say after Monday's opening ceremony of the resumption of the peace talks, the negotiations will be moved to Debre Zeit, a town 45 kilometers south of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.

Mufti says both factions have claimed to abide by the cessation of hostilities agreement despite reports of clashes between the two groups in several parts of the country.

"Both of them are saying they are observing the agreement of cessation of hostilities, however, there are different positions... While the opposition is talking about the difference within the SPLM [ruling party], the government side is talking about the opposition staging a coup d'état. These are the major differences that have to be fixed during the substantive discussions and that also be taken up," said Mufti.

Mufti says the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional group that organized the peace negotiations, will be monitoring the cessation of hostilities agreement.

"The monitoring team has been dispatched to South Sudan and they have established themselves in [some] areas, where there would be an institution for monitoring the cessation of hostilities or ceasefire. There would be a monitoring and verification group on the ground, and this is also to be strengthened, actually this is where we have also seen progress," said Mufti.

The factions signed a cessation of hostilities agreement on January 4 following international pressure. The conflict in South Sudan has so far left over 1,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes.

The government released seven of the 11 political detainees it accused of plotting to overthrow the administration in Juba. Mufti says the opposition has indicated the released detainees will be part of its delegation to the peace talks on Monday.

"The opposition side is saying the released prisoners are the ones that should also be part of their team. Whether they will be part of the opposition camp to the negotiations is something that we are going to [wait] to see," said Mufti. "Through the mediator the issues of the ones who were not released is also under discussion ... and hopefully, that case will also be behind us very soon."

Mufti expressed hope the resumption of the negotiations could expedite the peace process to end months of conflict in South Sudan.

"I am very much optimistic because at least both sides seem to see the need for peaceful settlement, for political dialogue, and both sides seem to be committed to it despite the sporadic fighting here and there," said Mufti.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2014 Voice of America. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

InFocus

South Sudan Peace Talks Resume

The warring factions have resumed peace negotiations in Ethiopia, as both sides claim to abide by the ceasefire agreement despite reports of clashes. Read more »