South Sudan’s warring factions held preliminary meetings Friday in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa one day ahead of official ceasefire talks, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said.
Dina Mufti, a spokesman for the ministry, said both sides were holding necessary meetings aimed at ending the violence that erupted between government and rebel forces nearly three weeks ago. Direct talks are expected to start Saturday.
The Ethiopian ministry said that although face-to-face talks are yet to begin, "negotiation started," adding that the East African bloc of nations IGAD, which is acting mediator in the negotiations, is "committed to support in any way possible."
The two warring sides are meeting with special envoys from regional nations.
Despite ongoing diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire deal, both sides continue to fight on the ground.
South Sudan’s government has declared a state of emergency in Unity and Jonglei, two states whose capitals are under rebel control.
The world’s newest country has been hit by violence since mid-December when presidential guards in the capital, Juba, splintered along ethnic lines in clashes that later escalated across the country.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)
Date created : 2014-01-03