South Sudan peace talks resume as famine looms

2014-08-04 19:37
A displaced woman stands by her washing at the UN compound where she has sought shelter in Bentiu, in oil-rich Unity state, in South Sudan. (File, AP)

A displaced woman stands by her washing at the UN compound where she has sought shelter in Bentiu, in oil-rich Unity state, in South Sudan. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Addis Ababa - Peace talks to end South Sudan's more than seven month-long civil war resumed on Monday, with mediators warning rival leaders would face repercussions if fighting continued, amid warnings of looming famine.

The regional bloc brokering the talks, IGAD, has set an 10 August deadline for both sides to agree on a transitional government and implement a ceasefire.

The last round of peace talks between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar stalled in June with each side blaming the other for the failure.

"This session of negotiations must make progress, we must end the war," chief mediator Seyoum Mesfin said at the opening of talks in the Ethiopian capital.

"Any result to continue it will have serious consequences... those that insist on continued fighting must be held accountable."

The US and the EU have slapped sanctions on senior military leaders on both sides, and IGAD leaders have threatened measures if both sides continue to violate previous peace deals.

Thousands of people have been killed and over 1.5 million have fled more than seven months of fighting between government troops, mutinous soldiers and ragtag militia forces divided by tribe.

Aid agencies have warned of the likelihood of famine within weeks if fighting continues.

China's ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union criticised talks for moving at a "snail's pace" and said the world was losing patience.

"The patience of the regional countries and the international community are being worn out because they haven't seen real results, they see only the looming famine and the continued suffering of the people there," said Xie Xiaoyan.

Fresh fighting

"It is high time to stop this," he added.

China, which has major investments in South Sudan's oil fields, has closely followed the talks since they started in January.

Fresh fighting in the strategic town Nasir last month broke a fragile ceasefire, the third since January.

On Monday, the government blamed rebel chief Machar of launching fresh attacks.

"Riek Machar and the SPLM-A in opposition should not waste any more time over military campaigns," said the head of the government delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial, referring to the rebel force.

Previous rounds of talks, held in luxury hotels in Addis Ababa, have already cost at least $17m but have yielded few results.

Read more on:    riek machar  |  salva kiir  |  south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.