South Sudan rivals open ceasefire talks

From Al Jazeera

South Sudan’s warring parties are holding preliminary meetings before the official start of negotiations in a bid to end nearly three weeks of conflict, Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry has said.

Dina Mufti, a spokesman for the ministry, said on Friday that representatives of the government and rebel groups were meeting in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa. He said the meeting was necessary to bridge differences ahead of direct talks expected to start on Saturday.

Meanwhile, fighting intensified on the ground in South Sudan as the army moved on the rebel-held town of Bor, capital of Jonglei state.

“We have enough forces who will defeat the rebels within 24 hours,” army spokesman Philip Aguer said amid reports of heavy battles involving tanks and artillery on the outskirts of Bor, which has already exchanged hands three times since fighting began in mid-December.

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