S Sudan rivals in Ethiopia for peace talks

Country's rivals meet in Addis Ababa for first direct talks since fighting began in December.

Last updated: 09 May 2014 20:14
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

South Sudan's two rival leaders have reportedly met face-to-face in Addis Ababa for the first time since mass violence broke out in December.

According to the Reuters news agency, President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar, shook hands after meeting in the Ethiopian capital on Friday.

The US ambassador to South Sudan said she doubted the two could immediately reach an accord.

The talks between Kiir and Machar were expected to last one day, the AP news agency reported.

"I don't believe that they will meet and reach an agreement straight away. But if they can agree on a broad-based process on how to resolve the conflict, end the fighting, that would be a step forward," Susan Page, the US ambassador to South Sudan, said during a radio call-in show.

"People want peace. People don't understand why the country should go into war just less than three years since independence."

The leaders' talks should include an outline for an inclusive transitional government, Borge Brende, Norwegian foreign minister, said in an interview.

Norway is involved in trying to find a diplomatic solution to South Sudan's conflict.

"Otherwise, there will be consequences that will follow. We will increase our pressure on the parties. Even tougher measures will follow in the coming weeks if there is no political will to solve the crisis," Brende said.

The US announced sanctions this week against two men involved in the fighting in South Sudan, one loyal to Kiir and one loyal to Machar.

The move appears to be a warning to the leaders that more far-reaching sanctions are being considered.

Michael Lueth, South Sudan information minister, said on Wednesday that his government's priority is to first stop the violence. Later talks could be held about a transitional charter, he said.

Brende said Norway will host a donor conference on May 20 to assist with humanitarian needs in South Sudan.


Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.