S.Sudan rebel leader won't say if will commit to truce

Report
from Agence France-Presse
Published on 27 Dec 2013

12/27/2013 21:27 GMT

LONDON, December 27, 2013 (AFP) - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar refused to say Friday if he would commit to a ceasefire with the government, arguing that any truce had to be monitored.

Speaking to the BBC, the former vice president of the world's newest nation also called for all of his arrested allies to be freed.

"The ceasefiree needs to be monitored. My position is that ceasefire should be negotiated so that a mechanism is set in place to monitor it," Machar told the BBC World Service by satellite telephone from what he said was a location in "the bush".

"Secondly, I told the mediators that for the talks to start it's best (president) Salva Kiir releases the political detainees," said Machar, adding that he was aware of two that had been freed by the government.

East African leaders announced Friday that South Sudan's government has agreed to an immediate ceasefire after nearly two weeks of heavy fighting with rebels.

They also gave Machar and President Kiir four days to hold face-to-face talks and halt fighting, pledging unspecified "further action" if the civil war continued.

Asked by the BBC whether he was saying that he would continue to fight as things stood, Machar replied: "Well this is not what I am saying.

"What I am saying is matters of ceasefires are always left to the delegation and for the ceasefire to be credible there is need for a mechanism, or else we will be deceiving ourselves."

dk/rmb

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