Tuesday, October 21, 2014

South Sudan’s Warring Factions Agree to Talks Mediated by Tanzania

Talks Are Intended to Complement Negotiations Being Mediated by IGAD in Ethiopia

 Warring factions within South Sudan’s ruling party have agreed to talks mediated by the Tanzanian government to help resolve a nearly yearlong conflict, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement officials said Tuesday.
Last week, delegates from rival groups within SPLM met in Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha at the invitation of President Jakaya Kikwete to address the internal power struggle. Finland-based independent mediating group Crisis Management Initiative is facilitating the talks, which are slated to resume within two weeks, officials said Tuesday.
The intraparty talks are intended to complement the peace negotiations being mediated by the regional Inter Governmental Authority for Development in Ethiopia, according to Eemeli Isoaho, a project officer with Crisis Management Initiative.

The factions said in a joint statement Monday that the intraparty talks, although separate from the negotiations being mediated by IGAD, are “mutually interdependent and reinforcing.”
The Tanzania-mediated talks highlight growing frustration with the IGAD peace talks, which have repeatedly faltered since they started in January, compounding the ethnically charged conflict that is threatening to turn the oil-rich nation into a broken state.
Fighting erupted in December 2013 after months of political tension between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar. The conflict has since pitted Mr. Kiir’s ethnic Dinkas against Mr. Machar’s Nuer community. More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, while at least 1.8 million others have fled their homes, according to aid agencies.
Oil production has slumped by 30% to 160,000 barrels-a-day and oil regions continue to experience the heaviest combat as both sides battle for control.