Representatives of South Sudan’s warring parties are in Ethiopia for talks aimed at putting an end to the civil war that has been going on in the country for almost 11 months, Press TV reports.
A regional bloc overseeing the talks, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has brought together South Sudanese government and rebel delegations in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa to convince the two sides to settle for a ceasefire and a power-sharing proposal.
“Fighting is the most critical part of the problem…. The process of the (peace) agreement is on the way. This is why today we are here…. I think, as the (South Sudanese) government said, this is the real way to stop the war,” Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Operations Officer Major General Samson Mabior, who represents the South Sudanese government in the Ethiopia talks, told Press TV on Sunday.
South Sudan’s warring parties had signed an agreement on the cessation of hostilities in late January, but the two sides failed to honor the terms of the deal, which collapsed within days.
In early May, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader, Riek Machar, agreed to another peace deal, which called for an immediate truce and the formation of a transitional government ahead of the drafting of a new constitution and new elections. However, the agreement failed to hold.
South Sudan plunged into violence in December 2013, when fighting erupted between troops loyal to Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy, Machar, around the capital, Juba.
The conflict soon turned into an all-out war between the army and defectors, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension that pitted the president’s Dinka tribe against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.
The clashes left tens of thousands of South Sudanese dead, and forced almost two million people to flee their homes in the world’s youngest country.
South Sudan gained independence in July 2011 after its people overwhelmingly voted in a referendum for a split from Sudan.