JUBA (AA) – The South Sudanese government peace negotiators left here Sunday for Addis Ababa for the resumption of peace talks with rebels loyal to sacked vice president Riek Machar.
“The president has directed us to reach a deal and this is what we are going for,” Information Minister Michael Makuei, who leads the team, told reporters at Juba international airport before their departure.
“We are going to negotiate in good faith and see that we bring back peace and stop the crisis in the country,” he added.
Makuei hoped rebels would be equally committed to peace.
“They have to be serious and committed so that we can reach the end amicably,” he said.
“What the country needs now is an end to this crisis and not bickering and dodging the truth,” added the chief negotiator.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December when President Salva Kiir accused Machar of plotting to overthrow his regime.
Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have been displaced in subsequent fighting, while large swathes of the population continue to face an increasingly grave humanitarian crisis.
In recent months, the two rivals have held on-again, off-again peace negotiations in Addis Ababa under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a Djibouti-based East African trade bloc.
In June, both sides agreed to form a transitional government within 60 days, i.e., before August 10.
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