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South Sudan peace talks delayed

Updated: 2014-01-06 06:27:19 KST
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Representatives from the rival parties in South Sudan are due to sit down for peace talks in Ethiopia,… marking the first direct exchange between the two warring factions since conflict broke out last month.
The talks set for Sunday appeared to be delayed,… with both sides yet to meet face-to-face for negotiations.
The talks will focus on a ceasefire deal, as well as the release of political prisoners.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has voiced support for the talks, saying it was an "important step" but that both sides "need to put the interests of South Sudan above their own."
He also said the peace talks must not be a "gimmick" to buy time to win the upper hand on the ground.
The fighting pits supporters of President Salva Kiir against rebels led by former vice president Riek Machar .
President Kiir accuses forces loyal to Machar of attempting to launch a coup, which they deny.
The rebels have taken over major towns in the oil-producing region while the international community has been on standby for what could be the first civil war in the world's youngest country.
At least 1-thousand people have died and some 200-thousand have been displaced by the conflict.
Meanwhile, fighting continued in the oil-producing Unity and Upper Nile states in the north on Sunday.
Clashes also broke out in Juba late Saturday, with gunfire heard coming from a district in the south of the city before calm returned in the morning.
In a separate development, a South Sudanese army general was killed Sunday in an ambush outside the town of Bor.
The general was with a convoy advancing on Bor when rebels fired on it.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.


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