World Bulletin/News Desk
South Sudan's government on Friday accused rebel chief negotiator Taban Deng Gai of abandoning the country's peace talks in Addis Ababa and focusing instead on planning attacks against oilfields.
"As government negotiators are under instructions from President Salva Kiir Mayardit to stay in Addis for the talk, the rebel chief negotiator Taban Deng Gai is in Heglig busy planning for more attacks on the oil areas, presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told a press briefing in Juba.
He said that while negotiators were awaiting the start of a new round of talks in Addis Ababa, government forces came under rebel attacks in Bentiu in the northern Unity State on Wednesday and Thursday.
"We are searching for peace, but rebels are searching for war," Ateny said.
"We would like to assure our people that the President of the Republic is not going to go to war against the very people in which he serves as the President, though our forces have the right to self- defense," he added.
The spokesman said that President Kiir remains committed to South Sudan's peace talks despite rebel attacks.
"As the rebels are determined to continue with the slogan of war, and still are planning to provoke the government, President Salva Kiir's resolve to bring peace to South Sudan is growing stronger," he said.
"He (Kiir) is not willing to pull the negotiators from Addis Ababa," Ateny added.
On Wednesday, the South Sudanese government said that its forces had repulsed a rebel attack on the oil-rich town.
"They came with a force of 7000 men, entered the town and there was fighting everywhere in the town but the SPLA repulsed them," army spokesman Col Philip Aguer told Anadolu Agency on Friday.
He, however, declined to give details about casualties.
"It's a shame actually, we don’t want to talk about the number of casualties," he said.
Ateny denied reports that rebels have seized control of the Bentiu town.
"Rebel claims of control of Bentiu town are false," Ateny said. "The area is being controlled by SPLA."
He warned that the rebels were planning further attacks against government forces in the town.
"The rebels are trying to come for attacks and that will be met with fierce defensive resistance," he said, going on to call on IGAD to condemn rebel attacks on Bentiu.
"We would equally like to commend and appreciate the role of IGAD negotiators in issuing statement which condemned the recent rebel attacks on our forces in Bentiu," he said.
"We urge the U.N., the E.U., the Troika, and the entire International community to give credit or to condemn who deserves credit or condemnation," Ateny added.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when Kiir accused sacked vice president Riek Machar of leading a failed coup attempt against his regime.
Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have since been displaced in fighting between the two rivals, which has led to an increasingly dire humanitarian situation.
In recent months, the warring camps have held on-again, off-again peace talks in Addis Ababa under the auspices of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a Djibouti-based regional bloc.Last Mod: 31 Ekim 2014, 15:54