Michael Makuei, the chief negotiator for the South Sudan government, said on Sunday that the talks have been cancelled but will resume on October 16.
SHAFAQNA – Peace talks between warring factions in South Sudan that began nearly ten months ago have been put on hold.
“It will give them (both sides) time to consult on some of the outstanding issues and sticking points in the talks, especially the powers of the prime minister and whether the president will be head of state and government,” Makuei noted.
The negotiations began in January with the aim of finding an effective solution to the conflict which erupted between the supporters of President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.
The two sides have principally agreed to form a federal government, but there are some details that need to be hammered out.
South Sudan plunged into violence in December 2013, when fighting erupted between troops loyal to the president and defectors led by Machar around the capital, Juba.
The conflict soon turned into an all-out war between the army and defectors, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension that pitted the president’s Dinka tribe against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.
The clashes have left thousands of South Sudanese dead and forced around 1.8 million people to flee homes in the world’s youngest nation.
The widespread displacement has contributed to mass hunger and food shortages. Aid workers warn of famine if fighting continues.
South Sudan gained independence in July 2011 after its people overwhelmingly voted in a referendum for a split from Sudan.