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U.S says it’ll continue to pressure warring parties

Author : Nichola Mandil | Published: Monday, January 13, 2014

The White House

The U.S government says it will continue to put pressure on the warring parties in order to end the violence in South Sudan.

On Saturday, IGAD mediators and international envoys visited former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar in his hideout in South Sudan for consultations on the possibility of signing an agreement on cessation of hostilities.

Addressing a news conference in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa this afternoon, the U.S Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Ambassador Donald Booth, who went with the delegation, said Riek Machar has some reservations regarding the signing of the agreement.

“We engaged him for over 3 hours in trying to move him towards agreeing to sign the cessation of hostilities agreement,” said Mr Booth.

“He still has some concerns but I think we made some progress in allaying some of his concerns, particularly in regard to the benefits that he would get out of the ceasefire agreement, which is basically is critical in order to get to the political talks to address the underlying causes of the conflict.”

He said the major concern Dr. Machar has made is the release of political detainees, which he made a precondition:

“The major concerns he raised were the release of the detainees, which he has made a precondition,” he added.

Ambassador Booth reiterated the position of the US to the Government of South Sudan to release the 11 detainees and allow them to participate in the talks in Addis Ababa:

“What we really need to do is to continue to press the government to find a way to enable those detainees to participate in political talks.

“Riek Machar has been saying that the cessation of hostilities would follow release; what we have argued with him is that the cessation of hostilities is in the best interest of the people of South Sudan and that if he signs [this agreement], this would then increase the focus and the pressure for addressing the political talks.”

Ambassador Booth said there are discussions involving the mediators and other envoys including himself with the government in Juba in order to help facilitate the participation of the detainees in peace talks in Addis Ababa.

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