ADDIS ABABA, July 24 – South Sudan’s warring leaders will resume peace talks by the end of the month, mediators said Thursday, as warnings grow of famine within weeks if fighting continues.
Peace talks between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar stalled last month with each side blaming the other for the failure.
Mediators from the East African IGAD bloc said the rivals had both “reiterated their commitment to the negotiation process,” adding that talks were “tentatively scheduled to commence on July 30.”
More than seven months of war has left thousands dead and displaced 1.5 million people, while repeated promises and ceasefire deals all been swiftly broken.
Rebel forces last week launched their largest offensive since an oft broken May truce, attacking their former headquarters in the small town of Nasir.
Previous rounds of talks, held in luxury hotels in Addis Ababa, have already cost at least $17 million (12 million euros) but have yielded little progress and been repeatedly delayed.
Talks were vital to ensure aid to stave off a “looming famine in South Sudan that is likely to affect millions,” IGAD added.