Mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) say South Sudan’s warring sides have boycotted a new round of peace talks in Ethiopia.
“The two parties, who are not here with us, told us that they are not joining us,” chief mediator, Seyoum Mesfin, from the East African regional bloc, told reporters on Monday.
The government of President Salva Kiir boycotted the peace talks due to being accused of seeking a military solution to the conflict..
The rebels, led by former vice president, Riek Machar, also boycotted the peace talks for not being consulted on who will participate in the negotiations. They described the selection of delegates in Addis Ababa as “faulty” and called for a “transparent and inclusive process.”
Mesfin urged both sides to immediately resume peace talks, adding, “With every day passing, human lives are lost and destruction continues.”
The two warring sides had signed two cease-fire accords in recent months, but they did not last more than hours.
The political crisis in South Sudan began after Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, accused Machar, a Nuer, of attempting a coup in December 2013.
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 tribe against Machar’s.
Thousands of people have so far been killed and more than one million displaced in the war. Over 94,000 civilians are presently forced to live in eight UN bases in the country, while many others have fled to neighboring states, particularly Uganda and Ethiopia.