World Bulletin/News Desk
South Sudanese Minister Michael Makuei said Thursday that rebel negotiators had conditioned a sought-for ceasefire on the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from South Sudan.
"They have said they will not enter into any negotiations unless the Ugandan People's Defense Forces (UPDF) is withdrawn from the country," Makuei, a member of the government's negotiating team, told Anadolu Agency.
The UPDF's presence in South Sudan has remained a contentious issue in talks between government and rebel representatives in Addis Ababa.
According to reports from the Ethiopian capital, the issue has the potential to undermine the peace negotiations.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since mid-December, when President Salva Kiir accused sacked vice-president Riek Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt against his regime.
The UN estimates that at least 1,000 people have been killed and nearly 230,000 displaced by the violence.
South Sudanese Defense Minister Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk has confirmed in an exclusive interview with AA that Ugandan troops were helping his forces battle rebels.
On Wednesday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni admitted that the UPDF had recently engaged in combat in South Sudan, fighting alongside Kiir's troops.
Former Ethiopian foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin, who is leading mediation efforts between the South Sudanese rivals, had earlier cautioned that preconditions set by the two rivals hamper the talks.Last Mod: 16 Ocak 2014, 16:04