Struggling South Sudan peace talks resume
The peace talks resumed in Ethiopia's capital Thursday
Peace talks aimed at ending South Sudan's civil war resumed in Ethiopia's capital Thursday, with mediators making a fresh appeal for an end to a "year of horror and tragedy."
The stop-start peace talks, brokered by the east African regional bloc IGAD and held in Addis Ababa, have seen a string of cease-fire deals since the war began just over a year ago - but each has been violated in a matter of hours.
In a statement marking the opening of a new round of talks, which are aimed at leading the government and rebels to share power, chief mediator Seyoum Mesfin said recent weeks had seen yet more truce violations by both sides.
"Let us make this the last, appalling year of horror and tragedy, not an indicator of South Sudan's future," chief mediator Seyoum Mesfin said in remarks read by Lazaro Sumbeiywo, special envoy for the eight-nation IGAD, of which South Sudan is the most recent member.
Mesfin added that since the last truce agreement, violations had been verified by independent observers and even openly claimed by both sides.
"Such actions are completely unacceptable," he said of reports of ongoing fighting, adding that IGAD and the international community were "profoundly disappointed by these outrageous actions."
IGAD mediators said a new regional summit to address the crisis would also be announced soon. Apart from South Sudan and Sudan, the bloc includes Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea.
Fighting broke out in South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup.
The fighting in the capital Juba set off a cycle of retaliatory massacres across large swathes of the country, pushing it to the brink of famine