Delegates from the government of South Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement, SPLAM, opposition group on Monday in Addis Ababa began face-to-face negotiations to end ongoing hostilities in the country.
The talks are being mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, IGAD, at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa and assisted by envoys from the United States, the United Kingdom and Norway.
The IGAD’s chief mediator, Lazarus Sumbeiywo, said at the opening of the meeting that the warring factions were meeting face-to-face to harmonise documents and positions to provide framework for a cease fire deal.
IGAD’s effort for cessation of hostilities between the South Sudan government and SPLAM/SPLA rebel group had been stalled by the refusal of the two parties to soft-pedal on conditions they set for a cease fire agreement.
South Sudan’s former Vice President, Reik Marchar, on Sunday insisted on the release of the 11 opposition politicians being detained by the Salva Kiir-led government as a condition for the cessation of hostilities.
Marchar had earlier, during a three-hour meeting with the mediators on Saturday, also expressed concern over the involvement of the Ugandan Army in the internal crisis of South Sudan.
He had equally expressed fear on the implementation of the agreement by the South Sudan government as well as the benefits the opposition would get from the whole process.
President Kiir on the other hand had dismissed calls for the release of the 11 political detainees, insisting that their release must follow the country’s legal procedure.