World Bulletin / News Desk
After weeks of talks, South Sudanese rivals signed late Thursday in Addis Ababa an agreement on cessation of hostilities and agreed, in principle, on the release of political detainees.
"This agreement will create a suitable atmosphere for peace and political dialogue and lasting peace in our land," Taban Deng Gai, the head of the delegation representing sacked vice president Riek Machar, told the signing ceremony.
Chief negotiator Nhial Deng Nhial said the South Sudanese government has always demonstrated a political will for a political solution.
"We respect the agreement," he asserted.
The signing ceremony was held at Sheraton Addis Hotel and was attended by representatives of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) – which brokered the talks – as well as diplomats, observers and journalists.
Representatives from the US, UK and Norway, which were assisting IGAD in the negotiation, attended the ceremony.
The agreement does not bring about the immediate release of former high-ranking officials detained by the government.
It has been agreed that the manner of their freedom will be decided later in the process of the dialogue.
"Today marks a significant step forward towards a comprehensive political solution for South Sudan," said Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister and chair of IGAD mediation council Dr. Tedros Adhanom.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since mid-December, when Kiir accused Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt against his regime.
More than 10,000 people have reportedly been killed and 400,000 others displaced by the fighting.Last Mod: 24 Ocak 2014, 10:17