China-supported consultations reactivate peace process in S.Sudan
Xinhua Updated: 2015-01-13
KHARTOUM -- The Special Consultation in Support of the South Sudan Peace Process led by the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) has reactivated the ongoing endeavors to reach a peaceful settlement of the violent conflict in South Sudan.
Khartoum on Monday hosted the consultation meeting on the conflict in South Sudan with the participation of foreign ministers from China, Sudan, South Sudan and Ethiopia, besides representatives of South Sudan's rebels and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development.
The consultations, patronized by China, have received appreciation from South Sudan's two conflicting parties, which welcomed China's role in bridging the gap between the two South Sudanese rivals and ending the violence in the newly-born state.
To this end, South Sudan's Foreign Minister Barnaba Benjamin told reporters following the consultations that "we welcome the Chinese role which we believe is constructive and seeks to resolve the conflict in South Sudan."
"We hope these consultations, under China's patronage, would put the IGAD-led negotiations on the right track," he noted.
Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti, speaking at a press conference following the consultations, said the conflicting parties in South Sudan have agreed on five points.
"The five points which have been agreed upon included immediate cessation of hostilities, accelerating the formation of a transitional government and implementing it as soon as possible, taking concrete steps to relieve the humanitarian situation in the conflict zones and working to facilitate delivery of international humanitarian assistance to South Sudanese citizens, and supporting the IGAD efforts aimed at achieving peace in the newly-born state, " Karti said.
He further commended the efforts being made by China to settle the armed conflict in South Sudan, saying "China, as a permanent member state in the UN Security Council, is working seriously and sincerely to end the conflict in South Sudan. It is acting on the base of its international responsibility and not to achieve any other purposes."
South Sudan rebels' chief negotiator Taban Deng, for his part, said "China is qualified to play a positive role and this meeting is the evidence. We hope these consultations would give a new push to the negotiations."
He went on saying that "we have no objection toward what China is doing and we believe the Chinese role is in the interest of the initiative of the IGAD which is patronizing the negotiations between the two conflicting parties in South Sudan."
Meanwhile, IGAD Chief Mediator Seyoum Mesfin lauded what he described as China's efforts to realize peace in South Sudan, pointing out that the agreement reached by the conflicting parties in South Sudan is an important step to be built upon during the forthcoming IGAD summit.
An extraordinary IGAD summit is scheduled to be held on Jan. 18 in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to discuss the situations in South Sudan.
South Sudan plunged into violence in December 2013, when fighting erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy-turned foe Riek Machar around the capital, Juba.
The conflict soon turned into an all-out war between the army and the defectors, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension that pitted the president's Dinka tribe against Machar's Nuer ethnic group.
The clashes have left thousands of South Sudanese dead and forced around 1.9 million people to flee homes in the world's youngest nation.