December 27, 2013

South Sudan government agrees to end hostilities

The announcement is raising hopes for a potential breakthrough in efforts to cease violence that has displaced more than 120,000 people in the world’s newest country.

By Tom Odula And Jason Straziuso
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

A displaced boy carries a cardboard box inside a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in Juba, South Sudan Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday urged South Sudan’s leaders to resolve their political differences peacefully and to stop the violence that has displaced more than 120,000 people in the world’s newest country, citing the example of the late Nelson Mandela and saying there is “a very small window of opportunity to secure peace” in the country where fighting since Dec. 15 has raised fears of full-blown civil war.

AP Photo/Ben Curtis

click image to enlarge

A displaced boy uses a wheelbarrow to transport belongings inside a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in Juba, South Sudan Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday urged South Sudan’s leaders to resolve their political differences peacefully and to stop the violence that has displaced more than 120,000 people in the world’s newest country, citing the example of the late Nelson Mandela and saying there is “a very small window of opportunity to secure peace” in the country where fighting since Dec. 15 has raised fears of full-blown civil war.

AP Photo/Ben Curtis

Additional Photos Below

Speaking to the BBC by satellite phone, Machar said any cease-fire had to be negotiated by delegations from both sides and must include a way to monitor compliance.

In Juba's corridors of power, disdain for Machar is strong. Lueth said the former vice president is "on his way to hell if he's not careful" and that he could be executed by firing squad after a military trial.

South Sudan's government also says it will not release any of Machar's imprisoned compatriots, a condition Machar has set for his presence at the negotiating table.

Lueth said that no Machar representatives belonged at the table of power Friday in Nairobi.

"Is it a place for rebels? It would be a wrong approach to do it that way. This idea of trying to equate Machar with the government is not acceptable," he said.

Eric Reeves, a Sudan expert, said Machar may not have been party to any talks yet because he wants to enter any negotiations from a position of strength. Reeves said he's concerned Machar might try to make a deal with Sudan, which desperately needs the revenue it receives by moving South Sudan's oil to market.

One scenario Reeves outlined: Khartoum agrees to an arrangement in which Sudan's military, in the interests of regional security, protects Machar in his "stewardship" of the Unity oil fields.

Machar has already publicly floated the idea of sequestering oil revenue, Reeves said.

"This would be a desperate and vehemently condemned move by Khartoum," Reeves said. "But the most militaristic and anti-South elements are calling the shots in the regime. And the (Sudanese) economy continues to implode, without much in the way of international coverage."

Machar denies there was a coup attempt, and some officials with the ruling party insist violence broke out when presidential guards from Kiir's majority Dinka tribe tried to disarm guards from the Nuer ethnic group of Machar.

Machar has criticized Kiir as a dictator and says he will contest the 2015 presidential election. Kiir fired Machar as his deputy in July following a power struggle within the ruling party, stoking ethnic tensions in a country with a history of divided military loyalties.

In a speech at the Nairobi summit, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said there is "a very small window of opportunity to secure peace" in South Sudan.

After a decades-long fight for independence, South Sudan peacefully broke away from Sudan in 2011. It has been plagued by corruption, ethnic tension and a power struggle within the ruling party.

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Displaced men run a mobile phone charging station enabling others to keep in contact with relatives, inside a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in Juba, South Sudan Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday urged South Sudan’s leaders to resolve their political differences peacefully and to stop the violence that has displaced more than 120,000 people in the world’s newest country, citing the example of the late Nelson Mandela and saying there is “a very small window of opportunity to secure peace” in the country where fighting since Dec. 15 has raised fears of full-blown civil war.

AP Photo/Ben Curtis

click image to enlarge

Displaced people bathe and wash clothes in a stream inside a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in Juba, South Sudan Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday urged South Sudan’s leaders to resolve their political differences peacefully and to stop the violence that has displaced more than 120,000 people in the world’s newest country, citing the example of the late Nelson Mandela and saying there is “a very small window of opportunity to secure peace” in the country where fighting since Dec. 15 has raised fears of full-blown civil war.

AP Photo/Ben Curtis

click image to enlarge

A young displaced girl carries a basket of laundry inside a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in Juba, South Sudan Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday urged South Sudan’s leaders to resolve their political differences peacefully and to stop the violence that has displaced more than 120,000 people in the world’s newest country, citing the example of the late Nelson Mandela and saying there is “a very small window of opportunity to secure peace” in the country where fighting since Dec. 15 has raised fears of full-blown civil war.

AP Photo/Ben Curtis



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