Ramaphosa in a bid to end South Sudan civil war

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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Tuesday morning meet South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in a bid to break a deadlock that has stalled peace talks aimed at ending a civil war in the country.

Ramaphosa will be accompanied by foreign ministers from Kenya and Ethiopia as well five senior South Sudanese politicians who returned to the country on Monday from Kenya.

The five have been in Kenya since their release from prison in South Sudan over allegations of attempting to oust Kiir in December 2013.

Getting the former detainees on the dialogue table is a major win for mediators seeking an end to 18 months of conflict in South Sudan.

Ramaphosa will be seeking to enter the last phase of reuniting the fractured ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), when the detainees and Kiir meet.

Conflict broke out in South Sudan in December 2013 – following disagreements with the SPLM. South Africa and Tanzania have been leading talks to have the party reunited. In October last year, they managed to sign an agreement bringing back the party together.

Tuesday’s meeting will lay out the road map for the restart of talks in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. The warring factions have already agreed and signed a transitional government agreement but have disagreed on how power will be distributed between them.

Former Vice President now rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar is not attending the talks. Ramaphosa says he is in contact with Machar and has impresses upon him the need to return to the dialogue table.

At least 10 000 have died and a million more have fled the country since fighting broke out 18 months ago.

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