World Bulletin/News Desk
Following a one-month hiatus, South Sudan's warring rivals on Thursday resumed peace talks in an attempt to resolve the poor African country's ongoing political conflict.
Delegates representing President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar sat down together to hammer out a peace deal under the sponsorship of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African regional grouping.
Thursday's meeting was chaired by IGAD special envoy Gen. Lazarus Sumbeiywo of Kenya.
Representatives of South Sudanese political parties, NGOs, former detainees and prominent personalities also attended the opening of the meeting, along with representatives of the African Union, the UN, the EU and the "Troika" (the U.S., U.K. and Norway).
Gen. Sumbeiywo said that a recent cessation-of-hostilities agreement had been violated when the talks were in recess.
"Such actions are completely unacceptable," he asserted, going on to urge the two antagonists to resolve the conflict through dialogue.
"It is vital that you give peace a chance," he told delegates.
IGAD Security Director Tewolde Gebremeskel, for his part, said peace talks were at a "critical juncture."
"The danger of famine looms large; about a million people are at risk," he said, calling on negotiators to find a solution before Christmas.
South Sudan descended into chaos one year ago following a power struggle within the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
On December 15 of last year, full-blown conflict erupted, which Kiir was quick to portray as a coup attempt by Machar, his sacked vice-president.
In the one year since, the conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced nearly two million people and left about four million people at risk of food insecurity, according to humanitarian agencies.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Aralık 2014, 14:01