South Sudan Ceasefire Talks Open In Ethiopia

Mr Machar (L) was President Kiir's deputy until he was sacked in July.
Mr Machar (L) was President Kiir’s deputy until he was sacked in July.

Talks to end the South Sudan conflict have opened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry says.

Negotiators for the government and rebel sides have been meeting mediators but have not yet held face-to-face talks, it is understood.

Delegates began arriving in the Ethiopian capital on Wednesday but talks were delayed until the full negotiations teams had arrived.

Meanwhile, the US is moving out some of its embassy staff from South Sudan.

The state department announced a “further drawdown” of its embassy in Juba, and said it would no longer be providing consular services to US citizens in the country.

It also urged citizens to leave on an evacuation flight from Juba “to the nearest safe haven country” on Friday.

At least 1,000 people have died and more than 180,000 people have been displaced in fighting that erupted in mid-December.

What began as a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar has taken on the overtones of an ethnic conflict, correspondents say.

Aid workers are warning of a potential humanitarian crisis as tens of thousands of people are living without shelter, clean water and sanitation.

BBC

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