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South Sudan: Talks On Ceasefire Begin

Caption: South Sudan President Salva Kiir (right) and his Sudan counterpart Omar al-Bashir hold a joint news briefing in the state house in capital Juba on Monday. Photo: Reuters

Rebels in South Sudan and a government delegation started peace talks on Tuesday to try to end fighting that has left the world’s newest state on the brink of civil war.

The talks in neighbouring Ethiopia will focus on brokering a ceasefire to halt three weeks of violence that has killed at least 1,000 people and driven 200,000 from their homes.

“We have begun our meeting on the cessation of hostilities,” a member of the government delegation told Reuters.

The fighting, often along ethnic fault lines, has pitted President Salva Kiir’s SPLA government forces against rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.

Mabior Garang, a member of Machar’s delegation to the Addis talks, confirmed that the talks had begun.

The two sides delayed talks for several days, haggling over the fate of 11 detainees held by the government in Juba, with the rebels initially insisting on securing their release before negotiations started.