South Sudan rivals under pressure to end civil war

2014-11-07 16:00
South Sudan President Salva Kiir. (File, AFP)

South Sudan President Salva Kiir. (File, AFP)

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Addis Ababa - South Sudan's president and the country's rebel chief were locked in a second day of talks on Friday, under pressure from regional leaders to end their nearly 11-month-old civil war.

President Salva Kiir and ousted vice president Riek Machar were meeting in Addis Ababa, with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalgen and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta leading the latest push for peace.

East African leaders have grown increasingly impatient with the warring sides, their slow-moving talks and repeated violations of several prior ceasefire deals, and have told them to "come to their senses".

The UN Security Council also warned this week of possible sanctions over the fighting, which has left tens of thousands dead and forced almost two million from their homes.

Positive result

"It is a delicate place in which we are but we expect a result, a positive result," Kenya's foreign minister, Amina Mohamed, said in a brief statement.

Kenyan diplomats said Kiir, Machar and regional mediators met for more than 12 hours on Thursday, and that talks had resumed behind closed doors on Friday.

Diplomats trying to broker a peace deal appear to be jaded by the process, and on Thursday the Ethiopian prime minister complained that there "appears to be little appetite for peace".

"That the patience of the international community is wearing thin is hopefully not lost on both sides," Hailemariam said.

Human rights abuses

War broke out in December last year, when Kiir accused his sacked deputy Machar of trying to stage a coup, with the violence broadening into an ethnic conflict and now including more than 20 different armed groups.

Kiir and Machar met last month in Tanzania, shaking hands and accepting mutual responsibility for the war, which has been marked by widespread human rights abuses and atrocities by both sides.

It was their first meeting since they signed a ceasefire in August, which, like three previous agreements, swiftly collapsed.

Recent weeks have seen an upsurge in fighting coinciding with the end of the rainy season, and there have been heavy clashes in several areas - in particular around the northern oil hub of Bentiu.

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

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