By Addis Getachew
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) - With fresh South Sudan peace talks faltering in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, opposition groups released a statement on Monday, condemning what they described as “attacks on opposition parties” by government forces.
Opposition groups and government delegations have been meeting since Jan. 5 owing to the efforts of an eight-nation East Africa security bloc, IGAD, to revive an Aug. 2015 peace deal.
“Government continues its attacks on opposition positions throughout the country, the latest of which is Nyatot in the Nasir area today,” the statement claimed.
Earlier, the opposition groups signed a Declaration of Principle, proposed by IGAD, which the government delegation refused to sign. This remains a sticking point that caused the talks to falter, according to sources who had access to the agenda of the meeting.
On Monday, the opposition walked out of a meeting, claiming that the talks took ‘power-sharing’ as the topic of discussion, while according to a previous agreement, the issue of security arrangement was to be discussed.
South Sudan has been mired in conflict between the government of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebels led by ex-Vice President Riek Machar since Dec. 2013.
A shaky peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under UN threats of sanctions, arms embargoes, and asset freezes led to the formation of a coalition government in April 2016, but this was shattered by renewed fighting which erupted in July in 2016.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands and displaced almost four million people from their homes, including over a million refugees who have fled to the neighboring countries.