Regional leaders say dialogue is the only way to end crisis in South Sudan and call on the leadership of the country to do just that.
JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN (DECEMBER 26, 2013) (REUTERS) - African mediators trying to broker a peace deal in South Sudan, after 12 days of fighting that has killed thousands, on Thursday (December 26) held constructive talks with President Salva Kiir, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom said.
"The issues that we discussed were among others the cessation of hostilities, an immediate start of dialogue to settle the issue politically, the detainees who were suspects of the coup, and the fourth is the humanitarian crisis."
Violence erupted in the capital Juba on Dec. 15 and has quickly spread, dividing the landlocked country of 10.8 million along ethnic lines of Nuer and Dinka.
Western powers and east African states, keen to prevent more chaos in a fragile region, have tried to mediate between Kiir, a Dinka, and rebel leader Riek Machar, a Nuer, who was vice president until Kiir sacked him in July.
Despite African Union calls for a Christmas Day ceasefire, rebels and government troops on Wednesday clashed in Malakal, capital of the major oil state of Upper Nile.
Kiir and Machar have both said their dispute is political, not tribal. But many of the 45,000 civilians seeking refuge inside U.N. bases across the country say they have been targeted based on their ethnicity.
Both South Sudan leaders says they are ready for dialogue but the rebellion leader Riek Machar says for talks to take place, all those detained from his group must be released, a condition that President Salva Kiir is not ready to give in.
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