World Bulletin / News Desk
South Sudanese rivals would resume direct peace talks in Addis Ababa on March 20, said the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), which is mediating between the young country's warring rivals.
In a late Monday statement, the IGAD cited "flexibility" by the delegations representing the government of President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, an attitude which, the bloc said, helped draw up a frame for comprehensive political dialogue.
The IGAD asked the rival sides to cooperate with its monitoring and verification mechanism teams and help deliver humanitarian aid to those in need.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since mid-December, when Kiir accused Machar, a sacked vice-president, of standing behind a failed coup attempt against his regime.
The conflict has already claimed more than 10,000 lives, while the UN estimates that some 3.7 million people in South Sudan are now "severely food insecure" and more than 820,000 have been displaced.
Following a month-long first round of talks in Addis Ababa, the warring rivals signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in January.
He confirmed that the recalled ambassadors were: Lucia Moga (China), Arop Kuol Deng (Ethiopia), Lumumba Makelele Jok (Belgium), Akech Khoc (the U.S.) and Chol Deng Alaak (Russia).
"The recall of ambassadors from these countries is the normal routine in foreign affairs," Arik said.
"They were recalled before for a briefing, and they have now been called for a general transfer within the ministry," he added.
The spokesman stressed that new ambassadors would be appointed once the envoys had returned to the country.
"They were recalled last month; we're waiting for them to arrive," he added.
"Some of them will go to new places. Others will come to the headquarters and new appointments will be made public when they happen," Arik asserted.
Rumors of the ambassadors' imminent recall had been rife for some time, amid reports that they had failed to convince the international community that the crisis in South Sudan was the result of a failed coup attempt by Machar.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman, however, insisted this wasn't the case.
"This has nothing to do with the crisis," Arik told AA. "These are people [the recalled envoys] who have worked very well to promote the country's image."