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South Sudan's Rival Factions Begin Peace Talks

As the deadly outbreak of violence continues in South Sudan, negotiators met for the first time for face-to-face peace talks.

South Sudan's Rival Factions Begin Peace Talks
United Nations

 As the deadly outbreak of violence continues in South Sudan, negotiators met for the first time for face-to-face peace talks.  

For the past three weeks, ethnic violence has gripped the country — prompting fears of another civil war in the world's youngest nation. (Via ENCA)

The fighting erupted when President Salva Kiir said forces loyal to his former vice-president Riek Machar had tried to overthrow him in a coup. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Jenny Rockett, Wikimedia Commons / Voice of America)

Now representatives for the two men are meeting in Ethiopia. Negotiations will reportedly focus on reaching a ceasefire and the release of political prisoners. (Via Al Jazeera

The country’s foreign minister told the BBC there's one condition. The rebels would first have to admit they had attempted a coup — something Machar and forces loyal to him deny.

But Marchar's militants now control some of the country's oil-rich, strategically important cities. (Via NTV

He told The Telegraph, government forces should stop trying to take this territory from his control, but added his forces would not attack Juba during the talks in the hope of reaching a "negotiated settlement."

 While the talks were underway in Ethiopia, the violence continued in South Sudan. So far, at least 1,000 people have been killed in the clashes, and some 200,000 have been displaced in the violence. (Via CNN)

The U.S., which played a key role in helping South Sudan gain independence, has urged the warring factions to end the conflict. Secretary of State John Kerry warned the peace talks should not be 'gimmick' for either side to buy more time.