Stalled peace talks between South Sudan's government and rebel forces have resumed under regional mediation in Addis Ababa.
Stalled peace talks between South Sudan's government and rebel forces have resumed under regional mediation in Addis Ababa. The conflict, now in its fifth month, has cost thousands of lives and displaced over a million people. According to a statement from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, the regional bloc facilitating the negotiations, all parties have returned to the Ethiopian capital for “a political dialogue for national reconciliation and healing.”
The resumption of talks comes on the heels of the South Sudanese government’s decision to release four top politicians who were being held on alleged charges of treason and insurrection. All charges against them have been withdrawn according to the government and they will be allowed to participate in the talks if they so desired. Their arrest in December, following what President Salva Kiir’s government has described as an attempted coup, has been a major stumbling block toward peace and reconciliation in the troubled East African nation.
The United States welcomes the decision to free the four men as an important political step toward ending the crisis. We urge the government to ensure that they can travel safely or depart the country, and participate as an independent group in the IGAD talks or in future political dialogues. Such dialogue is critical to ensuring accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities.