'Back from the brink': South Sudan's warring rivals to begin peace talks
Negotiators meet in Ethiopia as UN calls for end to fighting during which more than 1,000 people have been killed
Negotiators from South Sudan’s two warring sides have arrived in Ethiopia for peace talks, as the top United Nations official in the young nation urged both forces to bring the country “back from the brink.”
Heavy fighting continued in South Sudan’s city of Bor – a gateway city to the capital, Juba – a government official said. Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, is the current centre of the ethnic violence stemming from the political rivalry between President Salva Kiir and ousted Vice President Riek Machar, the rebel leader accused of mounting a failed coup attempt. The city is just 120km from Juba. More than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence, says the UN.
Mr Machar said on Tuesday that he would send his forces from Bor on to Juba, but that threat was downplayed by Hilde Johnson, the UN representative in South Sudan, who said: “I think we need to take quotations with pinches of salt at this point of time.”
Pro-Machar forces in Bor appear to be taking defensive positions, Ms Johnson said. The Bor fighting has newly displaced about 60,000 people, the country’s latest humanitarian crisis.
“On 1 January, the country is at a fork in the road, but it can still be saved from further major escalation of violence,” said Ms Johnson, who urged Mr Kiir and Mr Machar to use the new talks to move toward peace. “They can still pull the country back from the brink.”
The UN is “gravely concerned” about mounting evidence of gross violations of international human rights law, including the extra-judicial killings of civilians and captured soldiers.
The organisation’s estimate of 1,000 dead was given days ago and the number of fatalities is believed to be higher as a result of the new fighting around the country.
South Sudan Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin described Bor as a war zone.
Government troops pulled out of parts of Bor because they were concerned about having to kill the “young boys” who fill the ranks of the rebels, said one analyst.
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
Three-year-old boy accidentally shoots dead his mother in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as she changes her younger daughter's nappy
Michael Brown shooting: Driver smashes into crowd as protests erupt across the US during a second night of unrest
Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...
£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Multi-skilled graphic designer ...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solic...