World Bulletin/News Desk
Mediators affiliated with Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have condemned the re-eruption of fighting between South Sudan's government troops and rebels in in the northeastern Upper Nile State.
"The [IGAD] special envoys regret this unfortunate turn of events and call upon both parties to immediately stop the senseless fighting," a statement by the Djibouti-based regional bloc said.
The bloc regretted that the renewed fighting came after the signing of the Implementation Matrix of the Cessation of Hostilities (COH) agreement on August 25, describing the clashes as "unnecessary and destructive."
Chief mediator Seyoum Mesfin, for his part, appealed to both parties to exercise restraint to allow the IGAD Monitoring and Verification Teams deployed in the country to investigate the fighting with the aim of issuing a comprehensive report to "expose the real perpetrators and violators of the COH."
"It is unfortunate that this trend of events has been observed every time a new session of talks begins and any such sideshows aimed at derailing the peace process will not be tolerated,” he was quoted by the statement as saying.
He further urged the parties to refrain from any actions that could upset the ongoing peace talks and instead give peace a chance at the negotiating table.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked vice-president Riek Machar of plotting to overthrow his regime.
Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have since been displaced in fighting between the two rivals, leading to an increasingly dire humanitarian situation for large swathes of the country's population.
In recent months, the warring camps have held on-again, off-again peace talks in Addis Ababa under IGAD auspices.
In August, the two sides reportedly signed the "cessation-of-hostilities matrix" – covering security, social and economic arrangements, as well as political and constitutional issues – in hopes the agreement would lead to a permanent peace deal.
The rebel camp, however, says it never signed onto the agreement, but rather had merely recommitted to a January 23 cessation-of-hostilities deal.Last Mod: 21 Eylül 2014, 12:40