South Sudan peace talks postponed

By Mabior Mach.

South Sudan government delegates at in Addis Ababa peace talk(Photo: past file)

South Sudan government delegates at Addis Ababa peace talk(Photo: past file)

May 18, 2014(Juba) — Peace talks between the South Sudan government and rebels headed by former Vie President Dr Riek Machar have been postponed, officials have confirmed.

The two parties were discussing a file on reforms, transitional government and the constitution in the hope of signing a Declaration of Principles.

The talks are aimed at ending a five-month violence that has killed about 10,000 people and displaced 1.2 million others from their homes since December.

The fighting pits President Salva Kiir’s millitary against a loose coalition of dissenting soldiers and millitias headed by Mr Machar in a conflict that has taken on a dangerous ethnic undertone.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), which is mediating the peace process, postponed the talks to May 29, according to rebel spokesman Yuanis Musa.

Mr Musa said the two sides, holding the talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, could not agree on the security docket “because of foreign troops” inside the country.

Signed a deal

The rebels have been demanding the withdrawal of Ugandan forces, which went into the country a few days after a December 15 failed coup in Juba to protect crucial installations such as the aiport.

Mr Kiir blamed the crisis on Mr Machar, who inturn accuse the President of a political purge.

The talks were also stalled over the meaning, duration and the role of a transitional government that would lead the country until elections are held.

In the days leading to May 29, former Vice President will embark on trips to several East African countries, including Kenya, Somalia, Djibuoti and Sudan as IGAD has initiated, Mr Musa said.

“It is to make our position that we are really committed to peace and this conflict cannot be resolved through gunfire but through negotiation,” Mr Musa told a UN radio on Sunday.

A senior government official who does not speak for the negotiation team confirmed the adjournment toAfrica Review but could not divulge any details.

Mr Kiir and Mr Machar signed a deal more than a week ago to cease hostilities, but it failed to hold.

However, accusations and counter-accusations of attacks between the two parties relatively subsided at the end of the week.

Via Africa Review.