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Peace talks between South Sudan government and rebels resume

Peace talks between South Sudan's government and rebels resumed Monday in Addis Ababa with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development serving as mediator.
By JC Finley   |   Aug. 4, 2014 at 5:40 PM   |   Comments

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- On Monday, peace talks resumed in Addis Ababa between the South Sudan government and rebels.

The latest round of negotiations, mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, follows an agreement reached in June to cease fighting and establish a transitional government within 60 days.

The first part of that declaration failed as fighting in South Sudan persisted.

But Seyoum Mesfin, IGAD mediation chief and former Ethiopian foreign minister, still hopes the government and rebels will agree to form a transitional government.

In June, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir said it would be "a red line" for anyone but him to serve as president of a transitional government.

Meanwhile, rebel leader Reik Machar has advocated for an overhaul to the government and the creation of a federal system.

Violence broke out in South Sudan on December 15, 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his fired deputy, Riek Machar, of attempting a coup. Fighting between forces loyal to the two men has continued since December, with the political dispute devolving into an ethnic conflict. Thousands have died and an estimated one million have been displaced.

The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization warned in late July that South Sudan is on the precipice of famine due to the ongoing conflict. "The best means to prevent famine in South Sudan is for the guns to fall silent... Continued violence is the single most important factor in transforming a risk of famine into a reality."

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