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China continues to support South Sudan peace process: envoy

Updated: Feb 24,2015 9:37 AM     Xinhua

ADDIS ABABA — China will continue to provide support to the South Sudan peace process towards resolving the long crisis in the world newest nation, said La Yifan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia.

The final session of the South Sudan peace talks, mediated by the regional bloc the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), was launched on Feb 23 in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

In his statement at the opening of the negotiations on Feb 23, La Yifan said China would continue to support the peace efforts being made towards resolving the crisis in South Sudan.

“China is an active promoter for peace and development in South Sudan. The Chinese government is always standing ready to play a positive and constructive role in the IGAD-led peace process,” said the ambassador.

“China will continue to work with the IGAD, our African friends and the international community to provide necessary support, in the hope that peace and stability in South Sudan will finally be restored,” he said.

The ambassador underlined that the leaders of the two parties should put the interest of the people of South Sudan at the first place.

Though the warring parties signed cease-fire agreements through IGAD-led mediation, conflict continued in South Sudan claiming lives and displacing citizens of the country.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar signed the latest agreement on Feb 1 this year in Addis Ababa to end the conflict in that country.

The final round of peace talks is being held with an aim of finalizing a comprehensive peace agreement no later than March 5, according to the agreement on Feb 1 by the two leaders.

“This is the final opportunity to make progress and usher in a new era of peace in South Sudan. We must not fail,” said Seyoum Mesfin, IGAD chief mediator, in his opening remarks.

The IGAD chief mediator underlined that genuine compromise and dialogue must take place.

“The agreed March 5 deadline to conclude negotiations must be respected, so that the pre-transitional period can begin on April 1, and the transitional government of national unity formed no later than July 9 of this year,” said Seyoum.