World Bulletin / News Desk
A fresh round of direct negotiations will kick off Thursday evening between South Sudan's warring rivals, according to a source involved in the talks.
Thursday's session in Addis Ababa, the first face-to-face talks since early February, comes after having been delayed for two weeks.
"Thursday's talks will focus on means of implementing previously signed agreements and some security and humanitarian arrangements," a negotiator for rebel leader Riek Machar told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
On Tuesday, representatives of the two rival camps held separate meetings in the Ethiopian capital with mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African trade bloc, a source close to Tuesday's session said.
IGAD, along with international mediators, had threatened to impose sanctions on both parties to the conflict if they failed to abide by a January agreement to cease hostilities and redouble peace efforts, a well-informed diplomatic source had told AA earlier.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when President Salva Kiir accused Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt.
The violence has already claimed more than 10,000 lives. The U.N. estimates that some 3.7 million South Sudanese are now "severely food insecure," while more than 867,000 have been displaced by the violence.
The two sides signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in January, following weeks of IGAD-mediated talks in Addis Ababa.
S. Sudan repulses rebel advance on oilfields
The South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) has thwarted attempts by rebel groups loyal to sacked vice president Riek Machar to advance on oilfields in the country's Upper Nile State.
"They have been trying to make advances to the oil areas around Pigi, but our forces are standing their ground," army spokesperson Col. Philip Aguer told Anadolu Agency on Thursday at the SPLA's Juba headquarters.
He cited continued attacks by rebel groups over the past two days on oil-rich areas of the northern state.
"The rebels attacked Adariel, Malut and Adong, trying to move to the oil fields, but were repulsed," Aguer said.
He noted that other areas of Upper Nile State had also come under attack.
"They are attacking Baliet and Gelguk, trying to pass to the oil areas, but the oil facilities are safe and under control," insisted the army spokesman.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when President Salva Kiir accused sacked Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt.
The violence has already claimed more than 10,000 lives.
The U.N. estimates that some 3.7 million South Sudanese are now "severely food insecure," while more than 867,000 have been displaced by the violence.Last Mod: 28 Mart 2014, 10:20