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South Sudan government agrees to end hostilities

December 27, 2013 • World News


A displaced boy carries a cardboard box inside a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in Juba, South Sudan Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday urged South Sudan’s leaders to resolve their political differences peacefully and to stop the violence that has displaced more than 120,000 people in the world’s newest country, citing the example of the late Nelson Mandela and saying there is “a very small window of opportunity to secure peace” in the country where fighting since Dec. 15 has raised fears of full-blown civil war. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan’s government agreed Friday at a meeting of East African leaders to end hostilities against rebels accused of trying to overthrow the young country, but the cease-fire was quickly thrown into doubt because the head of the rebellion was not invited.

An army spokesman suggested the fighting could go on despite the announcement by politicians in a faraway capital.

At the meeting in Kenya, South Sudan agreed not to carry out a planned offensive to recapture Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state, which is controlled by troops loyal to Riek Machar, the former vice president vilified by the government as a corrupt coup plotter.

“We are not moving on Bentiu as long as the rebel forces abide by the cease-fire,” said Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan’s information minister.

But no one representing Machar was at the Nairobi meeting — a move possibly meant to deny him any elevated status that could also slow the search for peace. And Machar told the BBC that Login to read more

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