Voice of America (Washington, DC)

9 May 2014

South Sudan Rivals in Ethiopia for Peace Talks

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar are in Ethiopia to meet for the first time since fighting and ethnic violence erupted across South Sudan five months ago.

Reporters for VOA in Addis Ababa say the meeting, originally scheduled for Friday, will likely be pushed back a day.

Officials with the East African bloc IGAD, which is mediating peace talks, say the rebels and government will sign a peace agreement. A rebel spokesman tells VOA that the rebel delegation is looking over the document.

Negotiations have dragged on for several months with little progress, while violence has killed thousands and displaced more than 1.2 million people.

In a report released Thursday, the United Nations said both sides may have committed crimes against humanity.

Amnesty International said its researchers saw a mass grave in the town of Bor containing as many as 530 bodies.

The unrest was sparked by a power dispute between President Kiir and Machar, his former deputy who was fired in July.

A ceasefire signed by the rival groups in January has been largely ignored by both sides.

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