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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
South Sudan says U.S. threat to cut aid not solution to conflict

JUBA South Sudan(Xinhua) -- Threats by the United States to cut assistance to South Sudan may not end the ongoing conflict in the East African country, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Mawen Makol Arik, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, said withdrawing support will affect the progress of the peace negotiations because it will make the several opposition factions not to commit to the talks.

“Now as we are about to go for consultations (on the next round of peace talks in Ethiopia) tomorrow, we are getting negative comments from the U.S.. Does the American government really want peace in South Sudan? Such statements are the ones emboldening the opposition not to work for peace,” Arik said.

The Trump administration on Tuesday threatened to stop giving aid to South Sudan over the ongoing civil unrest, adding that the government of President Salva Kiir has lost credibility.

Washington further condemned South Sudan’s military offensive against the opposition and the planned elections, which the Trump administration termed as “sham”.

But Arik said the credibility of a government leading a sovereign state like South Sudan cannot be questioned by other countries.

He said the government of South Sudan seeks to continue dialoguing with the U.S. government in a bid to find better ways of ending the conflict.

“Whatever decision they have arrived to, it is their legitimate right to do. We government of South Sudan cannot decide for the U.S.. The government is committed to the peace process through the revitalization forum and the national dialogue,” Arik said.

“If they have decided not to help us, we will urge other people who are supporting the peace process to continue with their support,” he added.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world. The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under United Nations pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Britain urges compromise in upcoming South Sudan peace talks

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- Britain on Wednesday urged warring parties in South Sudan to reach compromise in the next round of talks and uphold the signed December Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities (ACOH) last year.

British Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin said in a statement that London welcomes the resumption of peace talks in South Sudan next week and the consultations that are now underway, but raised concern about the continued failure to reach compromise agreement amid violation of the ACOH.

“It is disappointing that we once again find ourselves in a position where the cessation of hostilities agreement reached at the last set of talks has not held, and the talks have so far failed to generate serious commitment to compromise,” Baldwin said.

“This is a critical moment for the peace process and we remain strongly in support of regional efforts to bring about a lasting peace,” she said.

Baldwin reiterated that only a negotiated agreement can bring peace in South Sudan and create the conditions for elections.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar led to split within the SPLA, leaving soldiers to fight alongside ethnic lines.

The 2015 peace agreement to end the conflict was weakened after the outbreak of renewed fighting in July 2016.

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South Sudan’s opposition group joins ruling pary

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- A faction of South Sudanese opposition movement, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by First Deputy President Taban Deng Gai, announced Monday that it has officially joined the ruling SPLM party.

Gai told a news conference that his movement has been disbanded and all party cadres and SPLM-IO fighters would be integrated into the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) respectively.

He said the decision is in line with a 2015 accord that called for the reunification of the various factions of founding SPLM party which fragmented into three factions following outbreak of civil war in late 2013.

“I would therefore like to announce on behalf of the SPLM-IO structures and the entire membership of the party the dissolution of the SPLM-IO organs including chapters and declare them to be united with the SPLM,” Gai told reporters in Juba.

“All SPLM-IO members and cadres are directed to observe this reunification process as stated in the Arusha agreement on 21 January 2015,” he added.

The SPLM-IO split into two factions in mid-2016 following renewed fighting in the capital, Juba that forced former first president and rebel leader Riek Machar to flee into neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, leading to his subsequent replacement by Gai.

The Machar-led group is still fighting the government of Salva Kiir while Gai’s faction remains part of the transitional government of national unity.

The SPLM last week agreed to reinstate party members still associated with other rival factions to pave way for the reunification of liberation movement.

Gai said reunification of the SPLM party would be a key ingredient for ending the ongoing civil war and ensuring stability for the world’s youngest nation.

“Reunification of the SPLM will give it more power, more spirit and more energy to the party to strive on the areas of making peace a last resort,” Gai said.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 20013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world. The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under UN pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.

The next round of peace talks spearheaded by the East African bloc, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), is scheduled to reconvene in Ethiopia on May 17.

           

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