February 10, 2014 [Addis Ababa] – Ethiopia on Monday called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces, notably Ugandans, from South Sudan, warning of a threat of regional conflict.
“Because of this intervention, the conflict might end up as a regional conflict because there are other interests also from other sides,” Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters.
Hailemariam called for the withdrawal of alien forces in order to end the conflict that has killed thousands and displaced 900,000 people.
“I hope for the cessation of hostilities…, Ugandan forces and all other external forces must withdraw from that area phase by phase,” he said.
The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Dessalegn has urged foreign troops in South Sudan to leave the country and give peace talks a chance to succeed.
Dessalegn told a press conference in Addis Ababa on Monday after peace talks began between the warring sides in South Sudan that the withdrawal of Ugandan troops would give IGAD mediators an initiative to facilitate political negotiations without undue complications.
Ugandan troops have been fighting alongside government troops in South Sudan, battling rebels.
The Ethiopian PM said both two parties to the conflict should respect the January 23 ceasefire agreement, cease hostilities permanently and release the remaining four detainees in Juba accused of orchestrating a coup which sparked the conflict in December.
He reminded both sides that part of the cessation agreement was to withdraw troops from disputed positions and settle political differences.
The commitment to a truce by both sides in the South Sudanese conflict was on top of the agenda of peace talks which opened in Addis Ababa on Monday.
The second round of discussions was called by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) came nearly three weeks after the government and the opposition signed an agreement to cease hostilities which began in December and claimed over 4000 lives.