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Friday, Feb 27th, 2015

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South Sudan’s rebel leader calls on his rival to attend peace talks; reaffirms his commitment

Addis Ababa, February 26, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudan’s Rebel leader, Dr. Riek Machar, has on Thursday called on President Salva Kiir to come to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to take part in the ongoing final peace negotiations.

The call comes a week after Kiir suddenly refused to attend what the IGAD called final round of peace talks.

In a press statement extended to the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA), the former South Sudan Vice President calls on Kiir to listen to the voices of suffering people of South Sudan and urges him to immediately come to Ethiopia and participate in the peace process.

“I call on President Salva Kiir to heed the cries of our people for peace. It is time he packed his suitcase and came to Addis Ababa such that together we quickly work out the terms of the peace agreement before the date line set by the IGAD mediators,” Dr. Machar said in the statement.

Machar also pledges to work hard for a peaceful solution to the conflict and reiterates his commitment to peace.

“I want to reaffirm my commitment and the commitment of SPLM/SPLA to the IGAD mediated process…,” he added.

Machar further stated that peace process must be speed up so that the suffering people of South Sudan can rebuild their lives and live in peace.

“I am aware of the immense suffering the war brought to bear on the people of South Sudan. This is time to procrastinate but to expedite the peace agreement such that our people reunite, recreate their lives in peace and harmony and we restore law and order to South Sudan,” Machar said.

IGAD-mediated talks have resumed in Ethiopia. However, Kiir failed to show up, drawing criticisms from the international Community.

Last week, South Sudan’s government asserted that Kiir will not attend the final stage of peace negotiations, claiming rebel forces under Dr. Machar have broke up into groups. Rebels denied the allegations.

US proposes sanctions against South Sudan

New York, February 24, 2015 (SSNA) -- The United States is circulating a draft United Nations Security Council resolution aims to put pressure on South Sudan’s warring factions, including individuals who stand in the way of achieviing peace in the volatile young nation.

The warning comes as the future of peace talks of the violence-wracked country looks uncertain.

This is not the first time the United States government threatened South Sudan with sanctions.

In November of 2014, the U.S. imposed sanctions against both South Sudanese government and rebel military Generals. The US also warned South Sudan in December in the same year that looming UN sanctioins were coming if a peaceful solution to the conflcit is not reached.

The US said the current draft is a first step and that further tougher sanctions will follow if peace negotiations fail to meet dateline set by the East African regional bloc, IGAD.

The proposal appears to prefer council-managed sanctions.

It has been revealed that China, Russia, European Union (EU), and other countries initially support tougher punishments against South Sudan including an arms embargo.

“Certainly, we would support an arms embargo," UK Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Lyall Grant told reporters.

It has emerged, however, that the United States was against an arms embargo against South Sudan’s government, saying sanctions could favor rebel forces.

On January 26, 2015, the US-based foreign policy magazine published an article which directly linked the U.S. national security advisor Susan Rice to Washington's inaction on UN sanctions  against Juba. The magazine also asserted that the US Secretary of State John Kerry and United States Ambassador to United Nations Samantha Power support tougher sanctions against South Sudan.

The Republic of South Sudan is in the midst of raging civil war after fighting erupted in Mid-December of 2013.

Abducted South Sudanese Children Found in a Military Training Camp

Juba, February 24, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudan’s Children who were kidnapped last week by unknown gunmen have been found in a military training site in South Sudan, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said.

UNICEF, which has strongly condemned the abduction, disclosed that eye witnesses have come forward and revealed the location of a military camp where the abducted children were seen marching.

“Witnesses have said they are in a training camp, and witnesses have told UNICEF that, on at least three occasions, they have been marched around the town,” UNICEF communications officer for South Sudan John Budd said.

Eye witnesses further told UNICEF that the children were seen marching around a town of Wau Shilluk.

It is not clear who is behind the kidnapping of school children.

However, reports and camp residents suggest that an armed group responsible for the kidnapping of at least 89 children has close ties to South Sudanese government since the camp where the abduction took place is under government control.

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