South Sudan Peace Talks Delayed

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Face-to-face talks between rival parties in South Sudan have been delayed, government and rebel delegations said, dashing hopes of a swift ceasefire to end raging battles and risks of all-out civil war.

South Sudan Peace Talks Delayed

South Sudan information minister, Michael Makuei, part of the delegation to the talks in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, as well as the rebel's spokesman, Yohanis Musa Pouk, said the two sides would not meet on Saturday until an agenda had been drafted by negotiators and agreed by both sides.

It was not clear when they would be completed.

Makuei confirmed that the two leaders of the delegations met briefly late on Friday, although proper talks had not begun.

"They met," Makuei told AFP, adding that teams were now "waiting to hear the way forward" from the negotiators, who are from the regional East African IGAD bloc of nations.

"The heads of the two delegations need to agree on an agenda... maybe tomorrow or after tomorrow," Pouk told AFP.

On Friday, the two sides held preliminary meetings before the official start of negotiations in a bid to end nearly three weeks of conflict, Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry said.

Dina Mufti, a spokesman for the ministry, said that representatives of the government and rebel groups were meeting in the country's capital, Addis Ababa.

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