Mediator cites distress over South Sudan truce violation

AP News
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Posted: Feb 23, 2015 5:21 AM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The continuing violations of a South Sudan truce signed earlier this month are vexing mediators, an Ethiopian official said Monday as peace talks resumed on Monday amid reports of sporadic violence in the country.

A monitoring and evaluation team from the regional body, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, confirmed the violation of the agreement signed on Feb. 1 by South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, Seyoum Mesfin of the regional group said at the opening of the latest round of negotiations between South Sudan's warring factions.

Both sides have accused each other of violating multiple agreements which have failed to end the violence which erupted in the world's newest nation in December 2013.

"I must repeat my distress and that of my colleagues over the violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement that has continued after the Feb. 1 agreement," Seyoum said.

Mediators are urging both sides to reach a decisive peace agreement by March 5.

The warring factions are also expected to reach an agreement on details of the arrangement to set up a transitional government by July 9.

"This is the final opportunity to bring peace to South Sudan. The whole world is watching and we must not fail," Seyoum said. "We must bring an end to the suffering that is still ongoing in South Sudan."