South Sudan rival factions restart mediated peace talks

Aug 12, 2015 South Sudan’s warring factions recently held a peace negotiation in Ethiopia, in a bid to meet the August 17 deadline for a peace deal.

The peace talk, which was mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), is aimed at ending the ongoing conflict between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels allied with his former deputy, Riek Machar.

At the opening of the negotiations, the warring sides expressed their wishes for restoration of peace but accused each other of repeatedly violating ceasefire deals.

Nhial Deng Nhial, who led the South Sudanese government’s delegation at the talks said:

“These are states that the armed rebellion desperately seeks to take over militarily. And, in the single-minded pursuit of this objective, the rebellion has caused us the loss of many precious lives among both the civil population and the military on both sides,”  

The South Sudanese opposition chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai, responded by saying:

“I would like to bring to the attention of the mediators and the South Sudanese stakeholders that I’m negotiating with a government that has lost its legitimacy as of July 8, 2015. Hence, it cannot continue to claim legitimacy to deserve that special advantage in power sharing,”

Seyoum Mesfin, Chief mediator for IGAD had this to say:

“I urge my brothers and sisters, the leadership of South Sudan, to recognize that this is an internal crisis. This is a crisis, and they’re the ones who should attend and resolve this crisis. It is not external. We urge you to internalize this crisis and stand for the call of the day,”

Mesfin went on to reiterate that South Sudan leaders will face several sanctions, including an arms embargo and travel bans, if the August 17 deadline is not met.

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