In a statement today (6 August), a Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson welcomed the start of peace talks in Addis Ababa on 5 August between the parties to the civil war in South Sudan:
The German Government welcomes the willingness of both parties to the conflict in South Sudan to return to the negotiating table in order to find a solution to the country’s problems. The fighting in South Sudan, which has already led to a humanitarian disaster, must be halted immediately. People in the refugee camps in particular must urgently receive aid and be able to go back to their homes.
South Sudan must now return to a path of peace, democratisation, economic development and respect for human rights. It is now important to reach a political settlement and to find a path to reconciliation. Germany will continue to support the peace process in South Sudan. The German Government thus calls on the parties to the conflict to swiftly reach a peace agreement based on the current compromise agreement proposed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
This includes public debate on the peace process. The closure of newspapers and radio stations in South Sudan is not conducive to such discussion. The German Government therefore calls on the South Sudanese Government to overturn these closures immediately.
On 5 August, peace talks between the parties to the civil war in South Sudan, President Salva Kiir’s Government and the rebels who back former Vice President Riek Machar, began again in Addis Ababa under the auspices of the African regional organisation, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the African Union (AU). IGAD has proposed a wide-ranging compromise.
The conflict in South Sudan broke out on 15 December 2013 and has already claimed 20,000 lives. Around 2.2 million people have fled or been forced from their homes.
On 3 and 4 August, the South Sudanese Government closed two newspapers (“The Citizen” and “Al Rai”) and the Free Voice radio station, probably in reaction to extensive reporting in these media calling for an immediate peace agreement and the inclusion of civil society in a government of national unity.
Germany is taking part in the United Nations peace mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).